Looking after you

I am ridiculously tired, I just try to grab little minutes when I can. I have allowed myself to prioritise a cup of tea over house work. . If my daughter is watching TV I might sit with her with my screen on and earphones in, I can still hear her and respond to her but it feels like a bit of a break. It probably looks bad but I know it’s not bad it’s necessary

Many family carers will be experiencing increased emotional difficulties at this time. If you are feeling this way, this section is a really good place to begin. Even if right now you are feeling reasonably OK, it is valuable to plan ways of supporting and maintaining your own wellbeing. Looking after yourself is fundamental to being able to support your relative too. 

Video: "Why looking after you is important"

Why looking after you is important

Family carers often prioritise the needs of their relative ahead of their own wellbeing.  This is very understandable but can be stressful. The time and resources needed to support a relative with a learning disability can leave little time for families to dedicate to themselves.  

 

Some family carers describe feeling guilty at the thought of taking time for themselves but it is vital to protecting wellbeing. Providing support for others is demanding and to be able to support your relative you need to be replenishing and nurturing yourself too.  

You might find it helpful to think about looking after yourself as recharging your batteries so you have the energy and reserve to support your relative. 

There are lots of extra challenges for family carers because of the changes caused by COVID-19 and so this is now more important than ever.

 

Common emotional experiences

Difficult thoughts and feelings are often experienced by family carers because of the challenges they face. Everyone reacts and feels differently when faced with challenges and difficult emotions may come and go. Lots of families have, however, described feeling:

  • frustrated or angry;

  • let down;

  • isolated;

  • helpless;

  • anxious;

  • overwhelmed;

  • exhausted;

  • guilty;

  • like a failure.

Recognising difficult thoughts and feelings and how they connect to your situation can be a helpful step. The next sections will help you build support for your health and wellbeing. 

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