“Self-care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on Earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to our true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”

-Parker J Palmer, American Author, Educator, and Activist

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) enrollment population is climbing. Approximately five percent of the Marine Corps total force is operating in a caregiver capacity. Serving as a Marine or spouse and a caregiver leaves little time for self-care. However, the importance of caring for yourself is equally as great as caring for your loved ones. Without you standing at the ready, who will your peers and family rely on?

Let us help you take care of you. Following are few simple reminders for daily self-care and some considerations for the long-haul.

Daily:

  1. Practice breathing techniques. Breathing exercises can aid in stress management. This can be a relaxing way to re-center yourself and there are so many to choose from.
  2. Get good rest and nutrition. Include rest periods when planning your day and prepare meals ahead of time to alleviate the added stress of finding time to make dinner.
  3. Give yourself five. Morning, noon, or night give yourself five minutes to freshen up, read a passage out of a good book, or a have a moment of silence. Taking time for yourself to recharge is crucial to your mind, body, and spirit. 

Down the Road:

  1. Remain socially connected. Attend an EFMP networking event, playgroup, or phone a friend. Creating networks of support are vital to your and your family’s well-being.
  2. Create a family care plan. A Family Care Plan (FCP) establishes a short-term contingency plan for alternate caregivers. Marine Corps Family Team Building offers a class designed to help you understand and develop and FCP. Check with your local office for the next available class.
  3. Take advantage of available respite care programs, like TRICARE ECHO Respite Care or EFMP Respite Care, if your family is eligible.

You don’t have to do it all on your own, and Marine Corps Community Services is here to help. EFMP Family Caseworkers are standing by to support your family’s needs.