Caring can be both rewarding and demanding. Juggling work and care can place extra demands on you. Taking time out to take care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do.
This Fact Sheet has been adapted for working carers from the Carers NSW paper ‘Focus on Carer Counselling Needs and Options’, by Gabrielle Rose and Kathy Wood.
Ten tips for feeling good about caring
- Remember that as a carer your needs are related to the person you care for but they are also different.
Be aware of your other roles in life, such as being a partner, parent, friend or worker.
- To feel good about your relationship with the person you are caring for you need to feel good about yourself. Work on it. Value yourself.
- To feel good about your caring you will probably need to share the caring with others. Talk to your family, friends and employer and use the services that are available.
- You also need to be listened to, understood, and not judged when talking about the difficult aspects of caring. Find someone you trust to confide in. This could be a friend, work colleague or someone from a carer support service.
- Ask for help or support before you reach breaking point. Think of it as “managing the care” with a positive outcome.
- Find ways to reduce the isolation which often accompanies being a carer. Going to work and using respite to catch up with friends and family helps.
- Spend time looking after yourself and keeping up with your outside interests if at all possible. That will help you keep your life in balance. Enjoy hobbies or learn a new skill.
- Keep your informal inks and networks, they are invaluable. If you have lost touch with old friends or colleagues, contact them again.
- Remember service providers are there to help you – talk to them, explain your needs as a working carer and ask for services that suit your working hours.
If you keep a sense of yourself as a separate identity to the person you are caring for, you will feel more positive about your caring.