The Importance Of Taking A Break From Being A Carer
If you care for a loved one or friend, you probably have too much to do to stop and think about your own needs. However, in order to function well as a carer you need to keep yourself healthy, both physically and emotionally, so here are a few tips on finding time for yourself. Enjoying hobbies or leisure activities and being able to take a break from the caring role, perhaps by arranging respite care when you need to, are both important. Ensuring that you and the person you care for enjoy a healthy diet also matters, and there are ways of making catering less time-consuming if you plan ahead.
Hobbies and Leisure Activities
Whatever your interests, they can easily be put aside when you have caring responsibilities. Whether you would like to continue with a favourite hobby, meet up with friends or learn something new, planning your time is the best way of making sure you can achieve this. Even if you are not particularly keen on exercise, having an hour or so a week when you walk, cycle, swim or dance can help to keep you in better physical condition.
If the person you care for needs someone with them all the time, another relative or friend may be able to help out on a pre-planned regular basis. One or two hours every week when you know you can relax, get away and enjoy yourself can make the rest of your caring duties easier to manage, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you do not know anyone who could come and care for your loved one, contact your local social services department, who may be able to put you in touch with a carer. Asking for a carer’s assessment may help with finding suitable activities and with funding for day care or respite care.
Joining a carers’ group can also put you in touch with other people in a similar situation so that you can discuss how you cope in different situations.
If you have a healthy diet with all the vitamins and minerals you need, you will stay healthier and better able to cope with your caring duties. Rather than wasting time shopping, try shopping online. You can do this in quiet times when the person you care for is resting, and having your groceries delivered at a convenient time can make planning a menu much easier. If you want to minimise the time you spend in the kitchen, cook large batches of favourite meals and freeze them in convenient portions. Not only will this save time, it also helps when you are feeling stressed or your loved one needs more attention than normal.
Taking a Break
Taking a break from being a carer can help you to recharge your batteries and return to your duties feeling refreshed and able to cope again. Many care homes offer respite care, and you may be able to arrange for a week’s care in a home where your loved one is happy regularly every six to eight weeks. This can make a real difference to your ability to care for them over the long term.