How To Care For Yourself While You Are Caring For Someone Else

We’ve talked recently about self-care for our elderly loved ones, and how important it is. But
what about for you; the carer? How can you look after your own wellbeing while also caring
for someone else?

If you are caring for a loved one, you’ve probably found yourself feeling that you don’t have
much time for anything else. That feeling is only natural when you are spending so much
time focused one the wellbeing of someone else. But, looking after yourself is just as
important - not just for you, but for the person you are caring for as well. After all, if you’re
not feeling in tip-top condition yourself, it can be difficult to take care of the needs of those
who rely on you for their day-to-day care.

Self Care In Social Work

Here at Care In Kent we’ve put together some self-care in social work tips that you might find
helpful - and we’re not talking hot baths or having a cuppa with friends here - you know how
important that is already! Instead, we are looking at how to look after yourself DURING your
day-to-day role as a carer...

Tell Someone How You Feel

If you feel like you’re struggling to cope in your role as a carer, opening the lines of
communication with someone you trust should be your first step in self-care.

If you don’t have a friend or family member you can confide in, there are support groups for
carers that you can join where you can talk to others who have experienced what you are
going through, such as Carers UK Forum https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-
support/carersuk-forum
Or you can call the Carers UK Helpline on 0800 055 6112 for additional support and advice.

Whether you choose to talk things out with someone you know, or whether you choose to
vent on one of the many support groups out there, it’s important to speak honestly about
your feelings if you are feeling isolated or alone.

Be Realistic

Feeling overwhelmed is common among carers - especially for those who are looking after a
loved one rather than those who have chosen a career in the field. But, whether we are
carers by profession, or it’s a role we have taken on for a family member or friend perhaps,
taking on too much is a sure-fire way to send up feeling like you’re not achieving anything.

Accept the things you can’t change, and that there are some things you can’t do alone. A
good coping mechanism can be to write down all of the support needs your loved one has,

and systematically (and realistically!) check off which ones you can deal with alone, and
which ones you’re going to need help with.

This will give you a clear idea of the areas in which you need support, and you’ll be able to
get in touch with other family members, or with at-home care professionals like Care In Kent
to put a plan of action in place.

Don’t forget, we all need a break sometimes - carers included! Respite isn’t just possible -
it’s vital, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

Stay Organised

It might seem an odd concept, but staying organised is a great way to take care of your
mental wellbeing, helping you to feel calmer and more in control.

Keep a planner or diary and write down your daily routine, and keep your loved one’s
medications and important paperwork organised and in one place to save you time and
worry both on a day-to-day basis and in an emergency.

It’s also worth sharing all of this information with a trusted friend or relative in case you
become unwell or unable to continue in your caring role for whatever reason.

Remember, the whole point of staying organised is to reduce your stress, so don’t give
yourself a hard time if you ever forget something, lose something, or get muddled. You have
a lot to think about and being a carer is very demanding of your time and energy - both
physical and mental. Look after yourself by giving yourself a break if things don’t always go
perfectly.

Take A Step Back Sometimes

When you become a carer for someone you love it can be tempting to go in all guns blazing
and seize complete control because you want to take care of them as well as you possibly
can.
This isn’t a bad thing - you love them and you want what’s best for them.
However….
It’s important that your loved one has a say in their care and retains as much control and
independence as possible - don’t forget they’re probably struggling with the idea that they
need to be cared for after many years of being fit, strong and healthy.
Work with your loved one to decide what they can realistically do for themselves and what
support they need from you. There might be tasks they can do alone, and times where they

don’t need you at all. Figuring all of this out will take a lot of pressure off you both, and will
give you both time out just for yourselves.

Self-care takes on many forms, and of course it’s important to eat well, be rested and take a
break - especially if you find yourself in the role of a full-time carer. But don’t forget that
communicating how you feel, seeking out support when you need it, and not beating yourself
up if things don’t always go according to plan are also important ways to look after your
mental and emotional wellbeing.

If you’ve taken on a caring role for a loved one and are starting to feel overwhelmed, Care In
Kent could help. We offer a range of at-home care services from respite care to helping with
household tasks, so why not get in touch with a member of our dedicated team to find out
more.

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