As a carer, you spend so much time focused on someone else that you can easily forget to take care of yourself. But if you get ill, then there’s no one to care for your loved one. So it’s even more important for you to protect some time each day for self-care habits. This will help you have the energy and strength to continue doing the amazing job that you do.
The stress and demands of being a carer actually increase your risk of developing health problems.
You may recognise some of these common ways you may not be taking care of yourself.
- Being regularly sleep deprived
- Poor eating habits
- Poor exercise routines
- Not resting when feeling unwell
- Not engaging in social situations or meeting friends
- Not taking care of your home
- Medical problems
While self-care might fall to the bottom of your very full list of priorities, not taking care of yourself can have severe consequences including depression, anxiety, and even alcohol dependency. Looking after your own wellbeing is important for yourself, but also for the person that is relying on you to care for them.
Here you will find some tips for simple changes you can make to ensure you look after yourself too.
5 top self-care tips for carers
Speak to an organisation or to your doctor and see what support is available in your area. Many people caring for a parent or a spouse believe that it is their responsibility and no one else’s, so asking for help can feel quite difficult. But everybody needs support and that helps you be the best carer you can be for your loved one.
Family and friends
Lean on them for emotional support and don’t say you’re okay if you’re not. Set up a group chat with family and friends so that you still feel in the loop and connected. Even when you can’t spend as much time with them as you’d like, you can still join in the conversation.
Take a break
Taking regular breaks to pursue a hobby or a catch up with friends can completely change the way you feel. Maybe you can get a short period of time away each day to take a long soak in a bubble bath or a walk in the fresh air. Or maybe you can take a longer period once or twice a week so you can go for lunch with friends or pursue a hobby you used to enjoy. This will make a world of difference to your mental health. It’s really important to make time for the things you enjoy in life.
Eat healthily and exercise
Our bodies crave the right fuel to keep us running well and we need movement in our lives to keep our mind and body healthy. A healthy, balanced diet with a range of fruit and vegetables each day, along with a brisk walk (or even 10 minutes around the garden) will do wonders for how you feel.
Be kind to yourself
Accept that it’s normal to have good days and bad days. Don’t feel guilty for needing time to yourself or for asking for help. You know you are doing all you can for the one you care about and taking care of yourself is an essential part of that.
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. Your loved one needs you to be the healthiest version of yourself and as a carer you’re doing an incredible job. You deserve a little pampering. I hope these tips help.
If you feel you could benefit from some additional help at home we love to hear from you. Get in touch and we can have a chat about how we can support you.