What is Self Care?
Being a carer is a big commitment and can affect you both physically and emotionally. How do carers find the strength, humour and resilience to keep going? That’s why taking care of yourself is so important- for you, the child and everyone involved!
It can be so hard finding the time and energy to do this, but thinking about your self-care, seeking the necessary support and taking practical steps to overcome possible barriers will help you cope during challenging times.
So how can I best look after ME?
Stress is part of everyday living and everybody’s life. However, stress (levels) can sometimes become too much and create more negative feelings, such as frustration, helplessness and emotional and physical exhaustion. Some of the signs that you may be stressed are, feeling tired, angry, resentful, cynical and lacking motivation.
Some of these different experiences are outlined below.
Stress – what to look out for:
We look after ourselves too. We make sure we go out once a week and we take a week off every now and then. It’s the only way we’ve managed to keep going.
Feel good tips for carers?
- Have regular contact with others.
- Talk with your friends, family, and partner.
- Spend time with people who make you feel good.
- Make time for YOU to go for a walk, have a cuppa with a friend, watch a movie, read a book, go shopping, play some sport, and go to yoga or a meditation session. Any number of activities that allow you to switch off.
- Find other carers, ask your foster care agency if there are carers who live near by. Join a support group and connect with others who know first hand the challenges and rewards you face.
- Have something to look forward to – it could be a fun activity with the child.
- Look after your body: exercise, healthy eating, and plenty of sleep support a healthy lifestyle. Remember to schedule regular appointments with your GP.
- Reach out and talk to the caseworker. Ask how they can support you?
- Take a break: plan and take breaks. What respite is available? Look at holiday camps, school holiday programs and cultural tours for the child.
- Find a hobby.
- Keep learning new things.
- Ask your foster care agency about training and conferences you can attend.
- Building on knowledge and skills will support you in the role.
- Connect and be involved in the community. Attend community events and festivals.
- Laugh! Remember to keep your sense of humour! Try to take a positive approach.
- Take a holistic approach – Do something for your mind, body, spirit and culture