Every day, family caregivers are called upon to manage … everything: scheduling doctor’s appointments; providing constant care and attention to your loved one's needs, physically and emotionally; running back and forth to grocery stores, drug stores and physical therapy sessions, thinking, “Am I doing the ‘right thing’ for my loved one?”

We all know the daily challenges we face as family caregivers, and that taking time for ourselves is a luxury we think we can’t afford. But we do need to take a few hours each week to reflect, relax and rejuvenate.

There are ways to allow yourself that much needed time away, for an hour, a day or even a weekend to collect your thoughts and get back on track. Frankly, as a family caregiver, you have a very important role to play. If you do not care for yourself, who will step in to care for your loved one?

I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from the family caregivers I have met across the nation.

1. Accept the help others offer

Suggest specific things they can do to help you and your loved one. Don't feel like you're the only one that can take dad to the doctor or your wife to therapy. Reach out and ask another family member or close family friend to assist you occasionally. Trust in their willingness to help. Many times they do not know how to help unless you clearly communicate your needs.

2. Ask for and accept favors

These can include a friend staying with your loved one so you can get out of the house for a while, a dinner being cooked for you and your loved one once a week, or an offer to go to the supermarket or drugstore in your place. Respite can be achieved on a daily basis with the smallest of kindnesses.

3. Understand your limits

If you wear yourself out caring for your loved one, who will step in to care for both of you?

Remember, caring for yourself is not selfish. It’s the greatest gift you can give your loved one.