11 Tips for Taking Care of Schizophrenia Caregivers

  • smiling couple embracing
    Caregivers Need Care, Too
    More than 60% of caregivers who look after people with schizophrenia say it's tough to find time for themselves. But self-care is especially important for caregivers, who have an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and extreme stress. Tend to your emotional, mental and physical.


  • closeup of woman's hands making list in journal on table
    Keep a Journal
    Writing down your feelings and experiences can help you find solutions to problems. It can also be an emotional release. You could start with something like, "Today I feel ..." Or simply write down what happened that day.

  • Senior man and woman sleeping
    Get Enough Sleep
    Many caregivers report trouble sleeping. To fall asleep more easily, try to avoid stressful discussions or activities before bedtime. Instead, do something relaxing, such as listening to calm music or taking a warm bath. If your mind is racing as you try to sleep, write down your thoughts or make a to-do list.

  • Group therapy for women
    Join a Support Group
    It can be comforting hearing from fellow caregivers and learning that you face similar challenges. Members offer each other emotional support, information and advice. Find a group through the National Alliance on Mental Illness here.

  • woman during psychotherapy counseling session
    Find a Listening Ear
    You might be more comfortable talking one-on-one instead of with a support group. That's OK. Just be sure to share your feelings with someone instead of bottling them up. A therapist, spiritual leader, friend, or another caregiver may be able to offer support.

  • Yogurt with berries and nuts
    Nourish Your Body
    A nutritious diet helps you manage stress, gives you energy, and keeps your immune system strong. Save time by cooking a big batch of a dish and freezing the leftovers. Looking for quick, healthy new recipes? Try the USDA's What's Cooking site.

  • Group of friends laughing drinking wine outdoors
    Nurture Your Relationships
    It's important to maintain your own identity and relationships outside of your role as a caregiver. Make an effort to spend some quality time with your spouse, family, and close friends. Even a five-minute phone call can help you reconnect with loved ones.

  • confident smiling Caucasian senior man with towel around neck giving high five in exercise room
    Stay Physically Active
    Exercise lifts your mood and boosts your energy. Choose an activity you enjoy, such as walking, biking, gardening, or dancing. Try to exercise at least five minutes every day. Work up to half an hour of physical activity five days a week.

  • Woman in Golf Cart
    Make Time for Fun
    It’s the best antidote for stress. At least once a week, do something that makes you happy. Watch a movie, go to brunch with friends, or play a round of golf. Try to make time for the hobbies you enjoy, whether it’s taking a walk with your camera or experimenting with a new recipe.

  • Doctor and patient
    Put Your Health First
    It’s hard to care for another person if you’re in poor health yourself. So be sure to keep up with regular checkups, vaccinations and screenings. Talk honestly with your doctor if you feel depressed or burned out.

  • Family cooking together
    Ask for Help
    Friends and family members often want to help but don’t know how. Suggest they take on specific tasks, such as shopping for groceries or picking up medications. You don’t have to manage everything by yourself.

  • woman-laughing-outside
    Let Go of Guilt
    Remember, it’s not selfish to take time for yourself or ask other people to help you. Your needs matter, too. When you take care of yourself, you can do a better job of caring for others.

11 Tips for Taking Care of Schizophrenia Caregivers

About The Author

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  2. Active at Any Size, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. National Institutes of Health, June 2014 (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/active.htm);
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  8. What It Takes to Be a Caregiver, American Cancer Society, April 18, 2014 (http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003199-pdf.pdf);
  9. Module 1: Caregiver Self-Care, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.caregiver.va.gov/pdfs/Caregiver_Workbook_V3_Module_1.pdf);
  10. What Is Caregiver Burnout? American Heart Association (http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300657.pdf);
  11. Caring for Yourself When You Are Caring for Others, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (http://www.medicare.gov/files/ask-medicare-tips-for-caregivers-care-for-yourself.pdf);
  12. Education, Training, and Support Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Find_Support/Education_Training_and_Peer_Support_Center/E...;
  13. Schizophrenia Survey Analysis: Caregiver Experiences and Challenges, National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/SchizophreniaSurvey/Analysis_Caregiver_Experiences_and_Ch...;
  14. Family-to-Family, National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Family-to-Family);
  15. Global Perspective of Burden of Family Caregivers for Persons With Schizophrenia. S. Wai-chi Chan. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. October 2011;25(5):339-49. (http://www.nysfamilyinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Chan-S.-W.-2011..pdf);
  16. What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl: Home Page, U.S. Department of Agriculture (http://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov);
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Last Review Date: 2018 Dec 13
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