If you’ve ever been on a plane, you’ll know that there’s a moment before take-off where the flight attendants take you through the safety message. It is made clear that when those oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, you are to put on your own mask before helping your dependants with their masks.
Why? Because there’s no point trying to help someone else when you haven’t got access to oxygen yourself.
Being a part or full-time carer is the same thing. You need to ensure that you are taking care of yourself before you can be of any use to others.
But how do you do this?
All too often we get caught up in the day to day running of life for our loved one and it seems easier to put our needs at the bottom of the list. Time, energy and motivation are used as excuses for not doing anything for ourselves.
No-one can pour from an empty cup, so we’ve put together five ways you can start taking care of yourself and including yourself in the picture:
1. Schedule Time In For Yourself
We can see you rolling your eyes already, but we’re serious. Put it in your calendar and make it happen. If your loved one had an appointment, you would make sure they got there wouldn’t you? Of course you would! Well the same considerations should be afforded to yourself.
Block out time to go for a walk, have a swim, have coffee with a friend, get to the gym, visit the library or go to a movie and stick to it. If you can’t commit to a long time, then make it a short time. Work up to extra time.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Most of us need between 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night to function at our best. If you’re ending the night with a solid session of screen bingeing and not switching off the screen until the wee small hours of the morning, chances are you’re not functioning at full capacity the next day. Get to bed at a decent time, and don’t watch too much screen beforehand.
3. Say ‘Yes’ To Help
Accepting help can be hard for some of us. Sometimes there’s an internal belief that we should (somehow) do all of this ourselves. We think it’s a sign of weakness if we ask for or accept help, but the opposite is true. Accepting help, and even asking for help is a true sign of strength. Be strong and reach out!
4. Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
This is important. Give yourself a break. Being a carer means that there will be days when you question everything you’re doing, feeling sorry for yourself and then feeling guilty you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Stop it. You’re human. You’re doing a great job and this is just a moment in time. Take a breath and give yourself a break.
5. Contact Arafmi For Assistance with Supported Accommodation
You knew this was going to be on the list didn’t you? This is what we’re here for. If you need a break and the person you care for has an NDIS package, then they may qualify to access our short and long-term accommodation solutions. You’re not alone – we are here to help and you can contact us on 07 3254 1881 for more information.
What have we missed? If there are other strategies you use, we’d love to hear them! Email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add them to the list.