Looking after yourself when caring for someone else
Looking after yourself is a really important part of caring for someone else. It will help you to feel happier and healthier, which will help you to cope better with your caring responsibilities. It’s a win-win, really! Here are a few tips to make sure you’re looking after yourself as well as the person you’re helping out.
Take a break
Giving yourself permission to have time out will help you to de-stress and unwind. Take a break and do something you love, such as watching a movie or catching up with mates. Even if you’ve only got 15 minutes to spare, a little alone time (read: scrolling the internet for cat memes) could help you feel better.
Try some mindfulness techniques
Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present with an accepting and non-judgemental attitude. The best thing is, you can do almost anything mindfully. Go for a mindful walk, bake some mindful cookies, have a mindful daytime disco in your bedroom.
If you find it hard to switch off (guilty!), there are lots of apps that can help. Our Tools and apps section is a good place to start.
Talk to someone
Sharing your experiences or worries with someone else can make a huge difference. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up about your personal life with friends or family, you could try the ReachOut forums or link up with other young carers through the Young Carers NSW forums.
Look after your physical health
While it can be hard to fit exercise in along with everything else, it’s really important. Being in good physical shape will help you to manage your caring responsibilities by keeping you energised and happy. To keep yourself fit and healthy, try these tips:
Give your body the fuel it needs by eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Stay active by exercising a few times a week. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, getting moving is great for your body and your mind.
Prioritise rest by aiming for a full eight hours of sleep a night. Take naps throughout the day if you feel you need to recharge.
Ask for help
It might seem scary to ask for a hand, but there are lots of support services set up to help young people just like you. Check out this list of services and find out how they can help.
You can also talk to school, uni or work about your sitch and see how they can help to make life easier for you. This might mean getting an extension on an assignment, organising more flexible hours, or agreeing on other arrangements that will help you to balance your different responsibilities.