Carers are often misled by the notion that they are to be the ‘’strong ones’’. So when they are in need of help they tend to shy away. By experience, we have learnt that working alone in a care industry eventually leads to disaster. We all need a helping hand and direction.
Following are some tips which will help you gain support and also support others in your position.
- Maintain contact with friends for essential emotional support.
- Visit your doctor regularly and share concerns you have about the effects of caregiving on your physical, mental and emotional health.
- Join a support group where you can share peer group thoughts and feelings and where you can get advice at the same time.
- Arrange for a volunteer from a church or senior centre to call you on a regular basis to see if you need any help.
Preventing a burnout:
A carer should set a part of the daily time to look after oneself. Remember that if you are not strong you will not be able to help your loved ones to the best of your ability and you may risk the health of both yours and your loved ones. Plan time to yourself where you can practice your favourite activities which will keep you active and confident.
Daily exercise will keep you flexible, agile and toned up. A simple everyday exercise like stretching, squats etc. is highly effective too. You will find that this will give you a spiritual and mental boost in turn.
For the average adult, seven hours of sleep is considered the amount needed. Ensure you get a full quota of sleep. Visit your GP for advice if you have any problems with sleeping.
Make sure your care work does not get in the way of your own nutritional needs. Carers often find themselves eating fast food or missing out on meals completely. Make sure that your body gets a regular well-balanced meal.
Spiritual and Mental health:
- Do not bottle up your emotions, pent-up thoughts and feelings in your mind, it is better to release it by confiding with your loved ones.
- Keep a diary to jot down your daily thoughts and feelings. It provides an essential and instant release for your negative emotions.
- Stay involved in social activities and your hobbies.
- Take time to pamper yourself.
- Do not be afraid to delegate.
- Find humour in everyday situations and take time out with a humorous book or movie.
Take help from others:
Looking after yourself in the carer role is just the start but sometimes you need to take time away from caring and instead give some time to yourself. A respite could be just a day away with friends, an afternoon of personal errands or it could be a vacation. Involve family and friends to help you; they are likely to feel valued when you do so. Preparing meals or going on a walk with loved ones will definitely lighten your mood and make you feel at ease.
You can find support from-
- Clubs and Associations
- Relatives and friends
- Church and other volunteer organizations.