When you’re looking after someone else, it can be easy to forget about looking after yourself. But keeping a check on your own physical and emotional health is a really important part of being able to care for someone else. There are a number of things you can do, and various services available to help you.
This can help if:
- you’re a young carer
- you know a young carer
- you want to know about maintaining your own physical and emotional health as a carer.
Looking after your own physical health can be difficult when you’re focused on caring for someone else. But if you become run-down physically, it can be difficult to feel on top of everything else. Here are some things you can do to stay physically healthy.
Try to get out and be active every now and again, not only to get some fresh air but also to get your body moving.
Don’t sacrifice your physical health by eating unhealthy food. Try to make sure you’re eating enough fruit and vegies to keep your body functioning well.
Sleeping is such an important part of your physical health, but it can be easy to overlook. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours. Top it up with naps during the day, if possible.
Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Here are some things you can do to keep on top of your emotional health.
Make sure you’re not just focused on one thing. Add variety to your day by spending some time on a hobby or a physical activity that you enjoy.
Ask for help
Don’t feel you have to do everything on your own. Take some of the pressure off by asking someone you know to help out, such as your sister, brother, aunt, uncle or grandparent. Another suggestion is to talk to someone at the Young Carers Respite and Information Services, by calling 1800 242 636.
Have a break
Make sure you’re taking breaks and giving yourself time to catch up. This will help ease any stress or exhaustion that you might be experiencing.
Other things you can do
Learn more about the illness/disability of the person you’re caring for
This may be helpful in understanding their behaviour or moods. It's also a great idea if you’re giving them their medication, as you'll be better able to understand any possible side effects.
Talking to, and getting together with, people who are in a similar situation to you may be helpful. The Young Carers Australia site is a great place to start, as is Children of Parents with a Mental Illness.