Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Tips for Caregivers – How to Take Care of Yourself and Avoid Burnout

Image of Soldier sitting in gym with wife and daughter. A participant and his family watch as wounded, ill and injured service members participate in the air rifle and air pistol competitions during the 2017 Army Warrior Games Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas (Department of Defense photo by Roger Wollenberg).

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | Total Force Fitness | Warrior Care

Caring for a recovering service member can be hard. It can take on an added level of difficulty and stress when, as is often the case, that person is a friend, family member or loved one. Without time to recharge, burnout is a very real risk.

That's why it's so important for caregivers to take care of themselves, according to the Human Performance Resources by CHAMP (HPRC) team, part of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences' Consortium for Health and Military Performance, based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Whether it be physical support, emotional support, or just help with day-to-day activities, more than five million people in the United States are currently serving as “informal” military caregivers, without the pay, benefits or structured support systems from the civilian or Military Health Systems.

While social connections and family support are linked to healing and better outcomes after an injury, caring for a recovering service member you are close to may require more time and a higher level of resilience than, for example, caring for a child or an aging parent.

Among the Total Force Fitness and holistic health strategies the HPRC team suggests are:

Use TFF to Build Resilience and Cope with Emotional Stress

TFF focuses on overall health, including the physical, environmental, spiritual, psychological, social and financial components.

When taking on extra responsibilities, it’s common to feel negative emotions, stress, anger, frustration and even resentment. That puts caregivers at greater risk of depression, grief, exhaustion, and self-neglect. You are also more likely to develop your own health issues.

A holistic approach like TFF can increase your resilience and help address some of the emotional challenges.

Caregiver support strategies include:

  • Keep your nutritional and physical fitness in mind: Eat right, get the proper amount of sleep, exercise on a regular basis, and make regular visits with your doctor to get the best possible care.
  • Reconnect with your spirituality: Consider what matters to you and how you can connect your values to the support you provide.
  • Focus on problem solving: Often, tactical problems can be solved with a little bit of brainstorming and cooperation. List challenges and come up with strategies together as a family.

Optimize Financial Health

Because of the amount of time required to care for a recovering family member, there is often a link between financial strain and military caregiving. Some strategies to help optimize financial health are:

  • Know your resources. Several programs now offer financial and caregiving support to military families.
  • Don't let money troubles affect your relationships. If you take the time to discuss your financial concerns and focus on communication around money, your family can tackle financial challenges together.
  • Get into healthy financial habits. Budgeting can help you get on track when you are struggling. Small financial changes can make a big difference.

Build Social Support

It's easy to lose yourself while you're focused on caring for someone else, but you are not alone. Self-care and connection strategies include:

  • Get support. The Caregiver Resource Directory , Military Caregiver PEER Forum Initiative provide resources and link caregivers with other caregivers.
  • Set realistic expectations. Have patience and focus on the things that go well, not on setbacks or failures. Be open to change and look for creative solutions instead of "perfect" results.
  • Learn to say "no." Don't over-commit. Stay true to your priorities and say "no" to the rest.

More information from HPRC including links to resources for caregivers can be found here.

The HPRC team is made up of scientists, specialists and support staff who translate research into evidence-based resources to help warfighters and their families achieve total fitness and optimize performance, whether at home, in the office or in theater.

November is Warrior Care Month across the Department of Defense and DOD has no higher priority than caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and the caregivers who support them.

You also may be interested in...

USU Researchers Commended for Innovation, Leadership with 2021 MHSRS Awards

Article Around MHS
10/28/2021
Military personnel posing for a picture

Scientists from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) were recognized with four awards from the 2021 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) for their significant contributions to research focused specifically on the unique medical needs of the warfighter. 

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | MHS Research Symposium

Ultra-Endurance Military Athletes: What Motivates Them?

Article
10/25/2021
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Duane Zitta on top of a mountain

For some, sports are a way to stay fit, for extreme endurance military athletes, it’s a way of life and a way to challenge themselves physically and mentally.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness

Practice makes perfect: Uniformed Services University students learn combat casualty care

Article Around MHS
10/22/2021
An instructor gives advice on how a team of medical school students at the Uniformed Services University should work on their simulated patient during the Advanced Combat Medical Experience. 

The Advanced Combat Medical Experience (ACME), a four-day medical field practicum at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), is intense

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

WICC Podcast

Photo
10/18/2021
WICC Podcast

Today’s female service member population is now at 17%.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Warrior Care | Total Force Fitness

Warrior Care

Video
10/14/2021
Warrior Care

DOD has no higher priority than caring for wounded, ill and injured service members and the caregivers who support them.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Warrior Care – A Virtual Show of Strength | Caregiver Month

Tips for How to ‘Train Right’ and Avoid Injuries During Sports and PT

Article
10/13/2021
Military personnel in physical threapy

Physical training, recreational activities, and sports are key to service members’ health but musculoskeletal injuries due to sudden incidents and repeated stress or overuse are the biggest health problem in the U.S. military.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness

A Medical Student's Journey From Burkina Faso to Uniformed Services University

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Navy Ensign Roland Kiendrebeogo, a first-year medical student at the Uniformed Services University, with his wife at his enlisted boot camp graduation, May 2010.

Navy Ensign Roland Kiendrebeogo’s journey from Burkina Faso to Navy medicine.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Fort Knox dietician reveals personal staples for healthy family meals, picky eaters

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Vegetables displayed at a grocery store.

Making sure everyone in the family is eating healthy can sometimes be overwhelming and oftentimes, families aren’t sure where to start.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

USU Scientist Named Researcher of the Year for Bleeding Disorders Research

Article Around MHS
10/1/2021
Woman holds an award

Dr. Kathleen Pratt recently received national recognition for her significant contributions to improving treatment and care for patients with bleeding disorders.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

DHA’s Mobile Apps Can Help You with Overall Wellness

Article
9/30/2021
A smartphone user using the DHA's Air Force MissionFit app

Healthcare and wellness apps developed by the DHA are proliferating.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Total Force Fitness

Health Promotion duo optimizes health on Incirlik Air Base

Article Around MHS
9/30/2021
Air Force Capt. Sydney Sloan, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion element chief (right), and Air Force Senior Airman Gloriann Manapsal, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion technician (left), promote making healthy choices at the Sultan’s Inn Dining Facility on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

The 39th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion team provides and integrates evidence-based programs to optimize the health and readiness, even during these unprecedented times.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus

Regular physical activity is important for health and performance

Article Around MHS
9/29/2021
A Coast Guardsman works out at Coast Guard Air Station Savannah.

Those who get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week have a much lower risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease—the top killers of Americans every year.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness

Finding time for fitness during the work week just got easier

Article Around MHS
9/29/2021
A person works out the gym.

The new Army Civilian Fitness and Health Promotion Program now encourages employees to focus on fitness while at work.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Total Force Fitness

What is a "healthy" weight-loss eating plan, anyway?

Article Around MHS
9/28/2021
A female soldier poses with an apple in her hand.

Weight loss sounds simple: take less “energy in” (fuel from food and drinks, measured in calories) and use more “energy out” (calories burned through daily physical activity and exercise).

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Dr. David Smith at "Centennial Talks"

Photo
9/23/2021
Dr. David Smith at "Centennial Talks"

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Readiness Policy and Oversight Dr. David Smith speaks at the International Committee of Military Medicine’s "Centennial Talks," a hybrid in-person and online event broadcast from Schelle, Belgium, Sept. 21 (Screenshot from official livestream of event taken by MHS Communications),

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Dr. David J. Smith | Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 of 12
Refine your search
Last Updated: November 17, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.