When caring for someone else it is easy for a carer to forget to care for themself. It is important for all carers to have a positive experience while in a supportive role and ensure their own health and well being is maintained.
Your personal checklist:
I am eating well
It is not always easy to have regular, healthy meals but it is essential for long term health. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Plan meals ahead of time and cook and freeze them for later use can help save time.
I have someone to talk to about how I am feeling
Family, friends and support groups can all play a role in providing support. If the level of required support is not available, and/or there are feelings of anxiety, stress or depression, consult a professional counsellor.
I am getting regular exercise
Regular exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and it helps maintain fitness and healthy. Go for a short walk or attend an exercise class, or use an exercise DVD to work out at home.
I am getting enough rest and sleep
Being tired can add to stress. This makes it important for a carer to become aware of tiredness, take short periods of rest during the day, and seek support for respite at night if the caring role involves losing sleep.
I ensure I have enough regular breaks from my role as a carer
Regular breaks from caring are essential to a carer’s wellbeing – and they can help prevent burnout and exhaustion. Don’t feeling guilty about having regular breaks – everyone needs one from time to time whether they are a carer, a full-time professional or both. Carers can access local respite services or ask another member of the support team to help so that they can take the breaks they need.
I am taking my prescribed medications
Be sure to take medications or dietary supplements prescribed by a health care practitioner. Caring is a physically and mentally challenging role so it is vital to maintain personal well-being.
You can find more advice on the services available for carers here.
Check My Macula
If you are caring for a family member, it is particularly important to pay attention to your eye health, as many macular diseases have a hereditary component. Are you at risk of macular disease? Visit www.CheckMyMacula.com.au to find out your main risk factors for macular disease.
Check My Macula is an initiative of Macular Disease Foundation Australia.