Caring

Georgia Dixon

3 things every carer needs

3 things every carer needs

Caregiving for a loved one is one of the most selfless and challenging journeys a person can embark on, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. However, with so many carers experiencing stress, anxiety and even resentment, it’s vital to ensure the caregiver themselves is cared for. Here are three essentials every carer should have.

Time

Anyone who’s had to dedicate their lives to the care of another will know just how time- and energy-consuming it can be – especially if you’re going it alone. Finding the time to look after yourself isn’t always easy, but it’s absolutely necessary in order to maintain your physical and mental health. After all, your loved is relying on you.

Each day, take just ten minutes of meditation time. Ten minutes of quietly sitting and clearing your mind of all thoughts is all it takes to drastically improve your sleeping habits, lower stress levels and heart disease risk, relieve pain, boost your productivity and improve relationships, studies show.

You should also give yourself at least one day a month that’s all about you – pampering, indulging and relaxing. If getting even one day is difficult, ask a loved one to take over for just a few hours or consider hiring a part-time carer. You may be surprised to learn how easy and affordable it can be.

Support

You devote days, weeks, months and even years to looking after your loved one, but who looks after you? It can be all too easy to get so deeply invested in being a carer that you forget that you yourself need care, too. We all need someone to vent to, to cry and laugh with. And, as important as it is to maintain relationships with friends and family, it might be useful to connect with others who can truly understand what you’re going through – because they’re going through it as well.

Contacting your local carer’s support group could be exactly what you need. Carers New Zealand have groups located all over the country, offering confidential and constructive support. Click here to learn more about the groups available near you.

Distraction

When it all gets too much, we need something to take our minds off caregiving and focus on something completely fun and mindless. Whether it’s watching your favourite TV show, kicking back with a book, playing a game on your phone or going for a nice long walk, distraction is often the best solution – at least in the short-term.

Make the most of your free time by exploring new hobbies, learning a new skill, meeting new people or just spending some quality time alone.

Tell us in the comments below, are you a carer? What do you like to do in your “me” time after a long day of caregiving?

Related links:

How to get the best hospital care

8 surprising things that increase life expectancy

Tips to cope with losing independence with age