Guardian Carers Feature on BBC News London


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Carers have a very rewarding job, but at the same time it can also be a very demanding experience. Every carer is different, depending on their personality, experience, qualifications and training, the impact on the carer would vary. Regardless of this, every carer should make the time to look after their own health and wellbeing.

It is common to feel unnatural when it comes to thinking about yourself, but it is hugely important that you do so. It is crucial that for you to look after both your physical and emotional wellbeing so this will not result in you having any negative impacts.

It is understandable that carer may be juggling multiple things within their life, but it is important for you to know how to balance work and personal life, and give equal time for both. You could start to find it challenging and difficult to cope with this, as well as focusing on yourself and your health.

However, there are many things you could do to improve your own quality of life and make your experience as a carer better, such as:

  • The most important action to take is making sure you get enough rest. Sleep deprivation can have negative impacts on your overall health, and could possibly increase the risk of you getting depressed.
  • Eating healthy meals and making sure you are getting the right vitamins and nutrients to fill you with energy. It is very important to not skip meals and eat regularly at the right times. Ensure your diet includes a range of fruit and vegetables.
  • Drinking plenty of water! Lack of water in the body can lead to dehydration, which can result in a lack of energy. You want to make sure you are keeping hydrated when doing your duties as a carer.
  • Keeping active! Dong regular exercise can have may health benefits. This does not have to consist of you going to the gym everyday, it could be as simple as going for a walk in the morning or afternoon, or even cycle to work.

Even if it may seem difficult in the beginning, you have to put yourself first. As a carer, you have a tendency to stop caring about yourself and only caring about the person you are caring for. You need to stop that. You won’t be able to cope with life if you forget about yourself and your feelings. Here are some tips if you are struggling to cope with being a carer:

  • Simply look after your general health. If you notice your health is degrading or you are becoming unwell when you’re a carer, take these symptoms into consideration. Do not ignore
  • Socialise. Social interaction is one of the key elements to living a healthy life, especially when you are a carer. Being socially excluded can actually lead to dementia in later life. Try to meet a friend at least once a week, for one hour. If you cannot find time to do even this as a carer, keep in touch by email, phone or even better, video call
  • Learn a relaxation technique. Learning how to unwind when you’re a carer will help you feel invigorated and more rested too. Most relaxation techniques, such as yoga or mindfulness can be practiced for as little as 5 minutes a day.

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