Self Care

For the Caregiver

Caregivers often do not consider their own well-being as a priority. Providing financial and emotional support for a loved one can be a considerable responsibility. Family members may understandably feel frightened, fatigued, lonely, and stressed out. However, how can families expect their loved ones to be happy, healthy, and thriving if they themselves are not practicing self-care? We see burnout amongst the caregivers of loved ones too often. FERC strongly supports our families to be self-aware and practice self-preservation.

To provide an appropriate level of care for their loved one, caregivers must also take care of themselves. The idea of self-care may cause some friction with the temptation to go all out in an effort to provide every possible help for the loved one. However, because family support and involvement are crucial, the caregiver must stay in good health for a successful recovery. No one situation fits everyone. Each person’s plan should be tailored to fit the individual situation and resources. Here are a few tips below to help you plan a healthy future.

  • Involvement in activities that have nothing to do with mental health 
  • Go for a walk or hike
  • Meeting a friend for coffee, lunch, or dinner
  • Pick up a new hobby or revisit an old one that you enjoyed
  • Read a book for pleasure
  • Spend a night out at the movies
  • Dance
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Cook an old recipe
  • Turn off your cell phone for 2hrs – “me time”
  • Find meaningful work away from the home
  • Maintain a life of one’s own
  • Share experiences and feelings in a family support group
  • Create a greater balance in one’s life
  • Achieve and maintain physical fitness, regular exercise, and good nutrition
  • Acknowledge that you are not the only one who can make a difference
  • Be able to feel the pain, work through it, and become open to other feelings
  • Get support learning to live with the stress that setting limits may cause
  • Advocate for the services the family member with a psychiatric disorder needs
  • Create firm boundaries and know when to say no
  • Help, encourage, and challenge your loved one in their growth
  • Know your limits and do not wait until you are pushed over the edge
  • Focus on what is possible
  • Distance yourself from behaviors that you cannot or should not be trying to change
  • Pay attention to the lives of other family members
  • Know that structure can communicate caring
  • Take one step at a time as the way to attain a long-term goal
  • Accept that whatever one is doing is the best that one can do at this time
  • Join a group or process that supports the exploration and deepening of one’s beliefs and values
  • Identify options before making a decision
  • Celebrate small victories
  • Maintain realistic hope, setbacks are part of the recovery process
  • Structure and plan to maintain a regular and unstressed schedule
  • Focus on wellness and recovery, and hope to create a positive atmosphere for all


Family Education & Resource Center
7677 Oakport St. Suite 100
Oakland, CA 94621

Warm Line: (888) 896-3372
Office: (510) 746-1700

Open-Air Self-Care:

Free Monthly Event Series throughout Alameda County

FERC is the proud recipient of a Mental Health of America grant, in partnership with L.L.Bean. FERC was awarded this grant in order to increase free, safe, and communal self-care opportunities by enhancing our connection to the outdoors. With this grant, FERC was able to start the Open-Air Self-Care Monthly Event series. These events occur at different locations across Alameda County for a blissful outdoor self-care activity. FERC always provides beverages and breakfast, lunch, or filling snacks. FERC also provides gifts that help you continue using the self-care skills you learned.

April’s Event – Community Gardening: Planting the Seeds of Well-Being. We spent the afternoon at the wonderful Fremont LEAF Center: connecting with nature, enjoying healthy snacks and drinks, and connecting with our beautiful community. Participants walked away with a new gardening set, a book on caring for our native plants written by a local high school student, and new self-care tools in their wellness kit.

Join a Support Group

You’re Not Alone

We believe support groups are an important part of self-care for family members/caregivers. Support groups bring family members together to share their experiences as caregivers. Family members can give each other encouragement, and comfort, and share coping strategies. Support groups are helpful in creating non-judgmental spaces, reducing burnout, promoting empowerment, and receiving feedback and insight from people who understand. Visit a support group to take the first step toward investing in your self care.

Guilt-Free Bill of Rights

For Families & Loved Ones

  • A right to survive

  • A right to privacy and lead our lives
  • A right not to go broke or alter our standard of living
  • A right not to be psychologically abused
  • A right to express our emotions
  • A right to respite and vacation
  • A right to receive help for ourselves
  • A right to set house rules and be treated with respect and consideration

“You were there for me when even my own family and friends didn’t know what to do anymore…not because they don’t love me…but they couldn’t understand what I was going through. Thank you for being there and helping us as a whole.”

Family Member

“I was about to give up. I’m glad I didn’t. My family is forever grateful to FERC.”


“Knowing that you’re family members too – I know you GET IT. I don’t have to explain or defend myself…and that feels good.”


“You held the hope for us even when we didn’t think hope was even possible.”

Family Member

“Thank you for sharing that you too can empathize with my situation…I always felt alone and ashamed. You really made me understand that this is not only going on in my family…and it’s NOT our fault.”


Contact Us

To Get the Support You Need

Being a caregiver is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Family Education & Resource Center supports the families and caregivers of children, youth, adults, and seniors working through mental health challenges. Our dedicated team, extensive program offerings, peer support groups, and resource library are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to connect with an advocate.