With national carers week coming up in 10th to 16th of June, I thought it worth doing a few posts on looking after yourself.
There has been a fair bit in the press recently about the high levels of depressions amongst carers and it was certainly something that I recognised. It is a fact that caring does not cause depression, but many of the stresses and emotions associated with caring can contribute to it. For me some of the key things that impact are:
- The loss of sense of self. I’ve become a carer rather than a mum and have few opportunities to have time to myself.
- On going exhaustion and lack of time and money but I think these are true for most working families these days.
- Feeling of helplessness or being out of control linked very closely to the battles that seem to be required for every little thing.
- Neglecting my own health both through lack of time or energy.
From some research, reading and a my own experience there are things you can do to avoid sinking too deep into depression. Firstly I think is to be aware of the symptoms and both watch for them yourself and ask others to keep an eye as well. Carers UK have a good advice page on what to watch for.
After that there are some obvious things to do but from my personal experience they take a bit of conscious effort.
- Get organised. Have all your paper work together and be able to reference and track everything you need. This helps me remove some of that feeling of helplessness. I’ll do a later post on my Filofax set up for this.
- Create some me time. I work at finding projects I can do at home like the piano, knitting and finding maths resources. I’ve found it really helps remove some of the feelings of isolation.
- Look after yourself. A work in progress that one and I would be keen to hear how others make time to exercise.
- Talk to others about how you are feeling. This has been an eye opener for me to find many people going through similar struggles who have great coping strategies. I should say it doesn’t always have to be face to face as many of our virtual friends will know and it doesn’t always have to be with people going through similar situations.