By Coralie Reeve, ARAFMI Hunter Counselling Coordinator
As a carer, one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones is to, firstly, look after yourself. It might sound a little cliché, but it is true for most people - you can’t look after others until you look after yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself and maintain a balance in your own life, as a carer, you can burn out. This makes it very difficult to be there to help or support others.
Balance means looking after the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of us. We need to be doing something in each of these areas daily.
Some examples of these might be:
- Go for a walk
- Ride a bike
- Go for a swim
- Go to the gym, join a yoga or Tai Chi class
- Spend some time outside in the sun
- Change one thing in your diet to make it healthier.
- Listen to music
- Share your feelings with a friend
- Hug a family member or friend
- Pat or play with your pet
- Watch your children play
- smiling at a stranger
- Affirm yourself for your accomplishments.
- Express your thoughts in a journal
- Say affirmations
- Write a to-do list
- Write a letter to yourself for a friend
- Write out short-term and long-term goals
- If you need help, seek out counselling.
- Connect with nature
- Study a religion
- Write about your spiritual purpose
- Volunteer or do something of service for another or the community.
Being a carer can be very rewarding, but it can also be stressful. Keeping balance in our lives helps to reduce stress. Other ways to reduce stress might be catching up with friends or family, having a hobby or an interest and exercising daily.
Do you know a carer? Here are some tips on how you can check-in on your carer family or friends.
If you need support, contact us today. Call our team on (02) 4922 1546.
ARAFMI Hunter Mental Health Carers offer support and counselling for the families and friends of people with mental illness. ARAFMI Hunter Mental Health Carers has been operating in the Hunter since 1979 to support anyone caring for someone with mental illness. The service joined Samaritans in 2019.