A digital image which reads: "Self-care, tips for carers of disabled children."

We know that is often the case for parents and carers of disabled children.

Looking after your own well-being can be an opportunity to make time for yourself, which will leave you feeling refreshed.

Self-care is not only beneficial for your own health but also for the person you’re caring for too. By looking after yourself you will be better at caring for others.

What is self-care?

The World Health Organisation defines self-care to be “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

In simple terms, self-care is intentionally doing things that improve your mental or physical health.

Why is self-care important?

Committing to self-care can improve your well-being all round. It can improve your physical health, boost your self-esteem, protects your mental health, reduce stress or anxiety, and can lead to better relationships.

As a carer it is essential to remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as caring for others.

Child playing in sandpit

So with this in mind, we have put together some self-care tips on how to care for yourself whilst caring for others.

  1. Share how you feel

Sharing your feelings with someone you trust will make you realise you are not alone and can enable a sense of relief. Friends, family and support services can offer a listening ear, advice and shoulder to cry on. You can also join an online carers forum or support group. Sharing your emotions with someone else will improve your overall well-being.

If you need help or advice call the Carers UK helpline from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm on 0808 808 7777.

  1. Ask for help

It’s okay to ask for help. As a carer you may feel pressure to be able to do everything by yourself, but this isn’t always possible. There is no shame in needing someone’s support. Try to get a clear idea about what you can do by writing down:

  • A list of all the support needs of the person you are caring for
  • What you can manage alone and therefore what you’ll need help with
  • Identify when you will need a break
 

Our Family Support Services team offer a signposting service where they can help you find organisations and services that your family may benefit from.

  1. Stay organised 

Staying organised can help you better control what is going on around you as a carer. Keeping a schedule or planner for your daily routine will help you manage your time more efficiently to allow you to complete as many tasks as possible.

  • Try using alarm reminders for things like medication, appointments and routines.
  • Make use of a digital or paper calendar for keeping track of long-term or recurring events.
  • Keep a digital or paper diary.
  • Break up bigger tasks into smaller items to make them more manageable.
  • Organise tasks in order of importance.
  1. Take a break

Even though you may not be able to take a break whenever you need one, it’s important to have time for yourself. You could:

  • Sign up for a respite care service, like our Short Breaks activity clubs.
  • Ring a friend or a support service
  • Ask a family member to support the person you’re caring for while you spend time alone
  • Invite someone over for cup of tea
  • Go for a walk
  • Try meditation
  • Make your favourite meal
 

If you’re worried about your mental well-being, contact your local GP for a chat about your mental health.

  1. Move your body

As a carer your physical health is just as important as your mental health. This can increase your energy levels, allow a better ability to accomplish daily goals, and improves concentration. Make sure you:

  • Try to eat as healthily as you can
  • Keep up regular physical activity
  • Get enough sleep

Why are these self-care tips important?

Our Associate Director of Clinical Services, Paul McIlroy said:

“Self-care is a part of daily living and includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Self-care should be a key aspect in everyone’s life and carers need to ensure that they are taking care of themselves just as much as the person they are taking care of.”

For more information and to check out all of the support we offer visit our homepage.

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