Here are the top 5 self care tips for carers – practical and personal tools for your wellbeing. Follow these tips and make little changes to enrich your life and health.
At first, implementing these practical and personal tools into your role may feel counter-intuitive. Small investments of time you will enrich your caring relationship, and allow it to function at a more efficient level.
When your role is to take care of the needs of another it is easy to become a master at de-prioritising yourself. It feels logical.
There is a point at which this can become unhealthy. It is important to strike the right balance between your self-care and care work. This is particularly true of the home environment; boundary lines are blurred between your own space and the needs of those you care for.
This is a natural learning curve within the dynamic.Not thinking of yourself can be a habit developed through the ongoing reactive response to the more pressing needs outside of the self. Click To Tweet
Lack of sleep and exercise, neglecting your own health and trips to the doctors, physical injury and strain and the impact of caring on other relationships with friends, family and partners are the major concerns regularly cited by those in this profession.
It is vital therefore, to make time within the day to invest in your own wellbeing.
In fact, it’s also part of the job; when you look after your own needs you can give a quality of care that is happier, healthier and much more robust.
Me time! Invest in yourself
Good quality ‘me time’ will provide you with a powerful asset as a Carer.
Me time works to become a key element of your personal support system and the base through which that will grow and strengthen.Making time for yourself, no matter how limited will give you an identity outside of caring that you can rely upon in times of change and uncertainty. Click To Tweet
The logic of caring can often dictate that making time for yourself is last on the list of things to do, however the habit of forgetting oneself is detrimental to the work as it does not consider the logic that if your health, or sense of wellbeing becomes an issue your ability to care is going to be greatly diminished or even unable to function.
Internalise this one idea and make yourself a small commitment of time every day – and take the most time you can.
There’s a logic to it.
Organise it, write it down – where does your five minutes to yourself, your trip to the doctors, 8 hours sleep or evening off fit in?
If you’re long overdue a holiday and can find the support to fit one in we’ve negotiated some amazing travel deals for Carers on holidays and travel.
Alternatively a day trip might be just what the doctor ordered – get some ideas and great discounts in our specially negotiated deals with theme parks, murder mystery days and concert ticket providers.
Enjoy yourself – you deserve it!
Know your limits and ask for help
As you are probably aware caring is an all-encompassing job, and because of this it is important to be able to recognise both your personal and professional limitations.
In acknowledging this and asking for assistance you will be extending your capacity to care at the highest level.
Firstly, it is important to identify yourself as a Carer and call in the support that’s out there. This can include:
- claiming all relevant and available benefits
- registering as a Carer with your GP surgery
- requesting a Carer’s Assessment through Social Services
- requesting a needs assessment for your Caree
Social Services can be reached via your local council.
Get organised and keep a list of your most important contacts for the job. Take full advantage of any support service offered, for example the prescription delivery service at local pharmacies.
That will give you back some precious time and the opportunity to rest.
Let’s get physical – Exercise
Looking after someone else can often result in being stuck in the house all day.
After time, this naturally becomes quite depressing and our energy becomes stagnant.Exercise is known to re-balance the effects of depression. It will lift your mood as well as keep you fit. Click To Tweet
Clear that sedentary lifestyle away with a simple walk around the block. This is a good option if you don’t have much time at first.
The better you are at accepting support, the longer the walks can get.
Walking for 30-45 minutes three times per week is recommended as a full-time programme to feeling happier through exercise.
Walking is, generally speaking, the most accessible and free exercise activity you can engage in without much prep.
If you get really into it, we have negotiated a special deal for Carers with Pure Gym.
Invest in your loved ones
Make some time to connect with friends and family even if you can’t dedicate much. Send a text message, make that five-minute call and reach out to your base; life is always changing, and it is important to make some room for the people that count.One of the major concerns of all Carers is how much their role has an impact on their ability to sustain other relationships be it with their partners, friends or family circle. Click To Tweet
Knowing this will arm you with the ability to make small changes that will keep you connected.
To make life a little easier we’ve got some amazing deals on mobile phones here.
Which brings us to our next essential tip for Carers…
Talk, connect and vent.One piece of advice for good mental health that comes back again and again is talk. Click To Tweet
If you feel isolated and don’t have a strong existing support system this can be tough, but there are lots of ways to begin.
The caring community online is very active and we recommend this forum to offload, find advice and likeminded people.
Alternatively, if you are feeling under pressure and you want to hear another friendly voice you may wish to call the Samaritans.
They are not there to tell you what to do, but simply to listen and sometimes that can make all the difference.
Your GP can also signpost you to counselling services. There are many free counselling services to which you can self-refer. Have a search and see what’s available in your local area.
If you’ve never had counselling before, it’s no big deal – but it does give you an impartial yet supportive space to talk through your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental environment.
Carers.org provides some more detailed advice on counselling and where to find help.
We would love to hear about your self-care tips and advice for carers.
Leave a comment and let us know what best supports your well-being.
What do you need support with? What would you like to see on the blog? Let us know!