It is vital that carers look after their mental health.
Carers can often experience issues with their mental health, as a result of putting so much time and energy into taking care of someone else. Carers can struggle to balance their life as a carer and their life as an individual.
This can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other mental health issues. Here are a few tips to make taking care of your mental health as a carer a little easier. However if you’re really struggling, speak to your GP and do not delay getting professional help.
Get some sleep!
You should try and get an adequate amount of sleep, which is roughly between 7-8 hours per night. It is important to get a regular sleep schedule, where your sleep patterns are not erratic and you’re allowing yourself enough rest every single day. This allows our brains to process the information of the day prior and helps our bodies physically and mentally repair themselves.
Lack of sleep in the short-term leads to irritability and mood swings, which can often make your mental health suffer more.
If you’re struggling to sleep regularly, call your GP, try meditation or breathing exercises, or try some herbal remedies such as pillow sprays and teas.
Be kind to others. Putting kindness out into the world can do wonders for your own mental health. Maybe try volunteering to a cause you believe in or reaching out to a loved one to show how much you appreciate them.
Everyone likes kind people. So when we project this trait out into the world, it makes us feel positively about ourselves and the nice things we are doing for others. It helps us see the good in ourselves and can boost our self-esteem. Also, what goes around comes around; you will likely receive kindness back which will boost your mood even more.
Exercise produces mood-boosting endorphins, which are responsible for what has been termed ‘the runner’s high’. You don’t have to push yourself hard, even a quick stroll may be enough to lift your mood.
Some great forms of exercise to start off with are Hatha Yoga, long walks, and pilates. These are all low-impact and good for mindfulness.
If you’re struggling with stress, you could make to-do lists to break down your daily tasks so that they seem more manageable. Approach one task at a time and don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. We’re all human. The person writing this blog has never finished a to-do list in their life- so don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself. Talk to yourself in your head how you would talk to a dear friend out loud.
Take ten minutes each day to stop, breathe, and become aware of your surroundings This will help to ground you to the present moment, so you keep mental clarity and do not let stress take over.
Set a target!
Setting yourself a new target can be a really great motivator. It can keep your mind occupied in a positive way and boost your self-esteem.
Challenge yourself to achieve a new goal. It could be big or small, but giving yourself something to work towards can give you a sense of purpose and achievement.
Your new goal can be in your work, your caring, your exercise routine, or in your personal relationships. Make sure to set a reasonable and achievable target where the end result is you feeling good and proud of yourself.
If you find yourself feeling like you’re struggling alone, you could confide in trustworthy individuals about how you’re feeling. These people could be family, friends, or a qualified counselor.
It helps to share your struggles to clarify the source of the negative emotions that you are experiencing. Talking about your feelings can also help to put your problems into perspective and the objective party can help to provide a fresh perspective to your situation.
However, this is often easier said than done. If you struggle to verbalize how you feel, then you can try writing down how you’re feeling and reading it back. This can help you also be more objective and approach the situation more calmly.
Carers should not neglect their mental health.
Mental health is not something that should be ignored. If you’re struggling to know where to turn, take a look at this NHS Mental Health Resource Sheet, or give one of our Care Coaches a call and we will point you in the right direction.
We’re here to listen and learn about your struggles- no issue is too small.