Many of us spend so much time looking after others that we have little time to look after ourselves. This is particularly the case with parents, carers of elderly relatives and carers of the sick/disabled. Looking after yourself is just as important as looking after other people – you could be jeopardising your health by not giving yourself the TLC you deserve. Here are just a few ways in which you can start caring for yourself whilst caring for someone else.
Consider what you’re financially entitled to
Caring for someone else is enough of a struggle without also having to worry about your finances. Make sure that you’re getting all the money that you’re entitled to, whether it’s government funding or even charity funding if your finances are particularly suffering. One study found that 35% of carers weren’t getting the benefits they deserved, simply because they weren’t aware that they were eligible. Make sure to go online and do your research or talk to someone from the citizen’s advice bureau.
Share the responsibility with someone else
Being a solo full-time carer can be exhausting – don’t be afraid to share the load with someone else. If you’re a new single parent, don’t be afraid to ask someone to babysit now and again whilst you socialise, pursue hobbies or simply get some rest. It could even be worth looking into childminding services. As for caring for elderly or disabled relatives, consider looking into the option of hiring a carer to help. Home care costs can vary depending on the level of care you need – if it’s only an hour or two a week you could find it to be fairly affordable. You can also hire help as a way of allowing you to work, but this shouldn’t be the only time that you call for assistance as work is not the break that you need from caring.
Reward yourself with a break
A longer break could also be necessary in some cases. This could be anything from a day trip to a holiday. A relative could look after your kids whilst you are away or you could invest in respite care for an aging or disabled relative. Don’t feel that this is selfish – a break could be just what you need to give your body and mind a rest.
Look into counselling when you need it
If you’re struggling with the duties of being a carer and feel you don’t have anyone to talk to, don’t be afraid of looking into counselling. This could be a one-on-one counselling session or a counselling group aimed at other people that are also carers. Counselling doesn’t work for everybody but it’s worth trying.