It is important that you take care of your own health, even if you are busy looking after someone else's health. Being healthy is not only important for you, but it also helps the person you look after too.
Below are some suggestions which may help:
Let your GP know you are a carer: If you’re finding caring tiring or difficult, it can help to tell your GP you’re a carer and discuss the impact this is having on your own health. They will be able to offer you advice and support, and you may be entitled to additional health services such as a free annual flu jab if the person you care for has a serious or ongoing health problem.
Visit your pharmacist: We know that getting an appointment to see your GP can sometimes be difficult, so consider visiting your local pharmacist. Did you know that many of them can offer specialist advice on a range of health matters including minor ailments, medication management, health checks and much more.
Sleep and eat well: Although it can be difficult, try to make sure that you eat healthily, stay active and get enough sleep.
Take a break: Sometimes it can be difficult to take a break from the person you look after. You may feel guilty about wanting time alone, but it is important for your own wellbeing and you will be able to cope better if you can find time for yourself. Try to find time to reflect and relax, enjoy personal interests and hobbies, and socialise with friends and family. Sometimes even taking 5 minutes to sit in the garden with a cup of tea can rejuvenate you for the rest of the day.
Five steps to mental wellbeing: Evidence suggests that a small improvement in wellbeing can help to decrease some mental health problems and also help people to flourish. The following steps have been researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation, which we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. If you give them a try, you may feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life:
- Keep Learning
- Be Active
- Give to Others
- Be Mindful
Mental Health: Mental health problems are extremely common, affecting around one in four people. As you get older, changes in your life such as bereavement, illness or retirement can make you more vulnerable to them, but mental health problems are not a normal part of ageing.
You can look after your mental health in a number of ways. For example, staying connected and keeping active can improve your mental wellbeing. Eating sensibly can also have a positive effect on how you feel.
Audio guides to boost your mood: The NHS have developed a series of mental wellbeing podcasts or audio guides you can listen to in your own time, in private, to help you through times when your mood is low or you're feeling anxious. Each audio guide gives you simple, commonsense advice on what you can do to boost your mood. You can try the mood self-assessment quiz to help you decide which audio guides could help you the most.