Self-Care for Carers
Being a full time carer can have immense repercussions on your physical and mental health.
There are so many different types of carers such as caring for a sick loved one, caring for a terminally ill relative, caring for your kids, pets, etc but we all come under the umbrella of carers. It’s just that we do it all at different levels which can come at different costs if we don’t look after ourselves too.
Sometimes you have to seek support, put your hands up, surrender, and ask for help. As a carer of someone very sick, your world can become very small and lonely as you focus on your loved one so much and suppress your emotions as you can’t leave that loved one to see your friends or other relatives outside your home. At times you end up getting ill because you neglect yourself in the process of focusing on that special someone. Especially caring for someone with a long-term illness, you will need to allow yourself to have a physical break, so you can get some clarity and recharge your batteries.
Check-in with yourself from time to time, emotionally, mentally, and physically, you could do this with a friend over the phone or use a journal and jot down all your feelings. Remember to go easy on yourself. You are doing an amazing selfless act day in day out. Not everyone could do what you are doing, so be kind to yourself.
Give yourself permission to do something for you. Take time for yourself every day. It could be as simple as having a “cuppa’’ and some lovely biscuits whilst listening to a podcast. You’re not just here for another one, you are here for yourself too.
Be honest and vocalize to other family members how you’re feeling and stop suppressing your emotions. You can’t be a “rock” for everybody. The truth is we live in a world where people are wrapped up in themselves and sometimes the only way to get through to them is to spell it out. I know of situations where it was always that “one” son or daughter that had to do it all, even though there were a lot of siblings in the family. Love yourself enough to speak up.
If your loved one sadly passes away after a long illness, don’t feel guilty about thoughts of feeling thankful they are out of pain and their suffering has ended. You loved them; so naturally, you would always want them to be around but not at the detriment of them suffering and not having a fulfilled life, and deep down you know they wouldn’t want this for themselves either. Sit down, reflect…all this time you were responsible for their life and yours…just be, its ok…you can’t be all to somebody.. it was their journey too, so remember to love and care for yourself. XOXO