For carers, by carers: Why is self-care so important for carers

why self care is important for social workers

There’s no hiding from the fact that the last year has been exceptionally tough for both professional and unpaid family carers.

From caring for loved ones to working within a traditional at home or residential care home setting, the demands placed on those providing care to others have never been more keenly felt than right now due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

With these committed and caring individuals giving their all to secure the safety, happiness and wellbeing of others, their own health often falls by the wayside with personal mental and physical wellbeing being put at risk in order to continue helping others.

Just as we treat our clients as individuals, we also treat our carers with the same personal approach. We are true believers in the age-old saying that happy staff equal happy clients.

Self care for carers is important

However, by not taking the time to practice a little self-care, those in the care profession or those that find themselves in the role of carer for someone else are putting themselves at risk of a multitude of illnesses and even accidents bought on by increased anxiety, tiredness and by trying to juggle too wide a range of responsibilities at the same time.

Self-care is a vital component of a career in a care. Care workers who find ways to look after their own health and well-being may be less susceptible to stress and burnout and better able to provide care to clients. As a carer, it is important that you recognise your own limits – knowing when you need to take a break and letting someone else step in can make all the difference.

That’s why it is important that you take note of these self-care tips and make them a priority so that you can continue to care for others while still enjoying a good quality of life yourself.

Take a break

This does sound pretty obvious but it’s amazing how many carers neglect themselves and their need for ‘me time.’ Are you always coming up with excuses as to why you can’t take a few hours off? Taking time off to have fun, relax or do something just for us improves our well-being and sense of self-worth.

Maintain your own interests

You are so much more than just a carer, so it’s essential that you maintain your own hobbies and interests as a welcome distraction from your caring responsibilities.

Not only does this often a welcome mental break from the demands that caring for others can bring, it can also make the world of difference to your state of mind.

Stay healthy

It’s incredibly hard to care for others when your own health isn’t as good as it could be. Show yourself some self-care by eating well, getting enough exercise.

If you find yourself physically and mentally exhausted by the end of the day, ask family members to help you create a healthy meal, run you a bath or do the evening dishes so you can get an early night.

Manage your sleep

Many carers just accept that sleep deprivation is just part of the job. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Sleep deprivation not only affect carers wellbeing but also affected their ability to provide high quality care. There are simple techniques that can really work and make positive change. Anything from keeping a sleep diary to relaxation methods, massaging acupuncture pressure points, improving diet, removing blue screens before bed and understanding the biology of sleep can all help.

Reduce stress

Caring can be stressful, whilst some stress is normal and manageable, if you regularly feel overwhelmed you could be heading for trouble. Carers often struggle to see the amount of things they are dealing with and the impact it has on their health. Techniques like mindfulness and exercise can reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Reach out – Support is available for you

Never struggle in silence. Caring is an incredibly rewarding thing to do, but it can also be physically and emotionally draining at times.

By reaching out to others you’ll be able to discuss your fears, frustrations and vent any pent up feelings that are starting to impact on your mental health. Consider turning to a trusted friend, colleague or line manager who will be able to emphasise with your situation and perhaps offer some useful coping tools to get you through those difficult days. 

Our carers spend their time looking after others, but sometimes it is the carers who need help. In these difficult times, we’re acutely aware of the extra pressure that is placed on our fabulous care staff. We’re in the process of reaching out to each and every one of our carers to make sure they feel supported. We have a free Employee Assistance Scheme in place for all our carers, which provides confidential advice and telephone counselling if and when it’s needed.

If you are interested in pursuing a career with us, please contact us for an exploratory chat.