Being a carer sometimes makes it difficult to take care of yourself. Priorities are changing as the condition progresses and looking after yourself takes usually last place on a long list of heavy duties. Caring for a loved one isn’t an easy task, but it is important to understand the value of being a carer and living well. Being in good psychological and physical shape helps you provide quality care. Below you can find useful tips for looking after yourself:
- During the day, find leisure time even if it is only for one hour or less and do something that you enjoy indoors or outdoors (reading newspaper, having a relaxing bath, learning a new language, do some exercise or relaxation, going for a walk, going shopping).
- Take a break. Once a month arrange to take a day off. Arrange your break with the rest of your family, a neighbour, a friend, a care professional or an agency, in order to make sure that someone else will be there for your care recipient.
- Call regularly a friend or relative. Try to stay in touch!
- Exercise regularly. You don’t need much time, 30 minutes will do. If you are an internet user you can watch a video and work out in parallel.
- Try to follow a balanced diet.
- Whenever you aren’t feeling well (mentally or physically), get advice from your family doctor (GP). Don’t leave a problem to grow!
- Create a support network. Get in touch with other carers with similar difficulties, with carers or disease – specific organisations. Participate in group or individualised interventions. It will help you realise the situation and handle emotions such as anxiety, depression and guilt.