New year’s resolutions are set on New Year’s Eve as it’s a special day for many people. It signifies the end of what may have been a very tiring year. But, it also means that a fresh start to a new year, the chance to write  New Year’s Resolutions, has also arrived.

With the new year comes the much anticipated, or dreaded, New Year’s resolution. For many people, it’s quitting smoking or losing weight. For others, it’s something a bit more positive – like starting a new exercise program or a new hobby.

New Year’s is also a great time for family caregivers to make resolutions, to look at the new year with a fresh set of eyes, and get the year off to a great start. Here are five New Year’s Resolutions for family caregivers to help you do just that.

1. Make Your Own Mental and Physical Health a Priority

As a family caregiver, you spend much of your life giving yourself to others – the loved one you provide care for, your spouse and children, and often a boss as well. It doesn’t leave many hours left in the day to take care of your own needs.

To be as effective as you can in the variety of roles you play in your life, you need to be as healthy mentally and physically as you can be. The only way for you to do this is to recognize the importance of the small things you need to do for yourself every day, like:

  • Get 30 minutes of exercise in each day (taking a walk with your loved one counts)
  • Drink plenty of water every day (eight 8 ounce glasses is recommended)
  • Take a short 5-10 minute break every hour to remain fresh throughout the day
  • Let other people help you at regular intervals through respite care

2. Get the Proper Amount of Sleep

We don’t all need precisely the same number of hours of sleep each night, but most sleep experts agree that 7-8 hours is the optimal number to be rested and refreshed at the beginning of each day. It helps you have the strength and stamina needed to put in the long hours you spend caring for others.

And, don’t forget the importance of naps. If your loved one naps, try and take a short one when they do, even if it’s just a 15-minute “power nap.”

3. Schedule Some “Me Time”

We all need some time for ourselves. You can’t continue supplying water to others when your own well runs dry.

The only way “me time” happens is when you put it on your calendar and keep your appointment with yourself. It doesn’t have to be a whole day. It can be just a few hours to get a massage, take a hot bath, read a good book or watch a movie, get in a good workout, or take time to meditate or pray.

What counts is that you do it for your benefit, even though it will benefit others.

4. Spend More Quality Time With Your Loved One

It’s a cliché, but it’s true- “It’s not the quantity of time you spend with someone, it’s the quality of the time spent.”

As a family caregiver, it’s easy to let the hours and days run together and put yourself on cruise control as you check off the seemingly endless number of tasks you complete every day.

Make a conscious effort to “Stop and smell the roses.” Life is short and goes fast; you’re elder loved one won’t be with you forever. Do your best to enjoy them as you go through your day and make some lasting memories.

5. Plan For Their Future Care

Though it may not be easy to admit, there may come a day in the