National Carers Week, celebrated annually, is a time to recognize and appreciate the generous contribution of carers within our community – whether they be parents, friends, or professionals. In the month of October, we also commemorated Mental Health Month, and were reminded of the importance of self-care, especially for those of us in caring roles. At Co.As.It., we stand alongside those who dedicate their time and energy to caring for others. We are proud to offer a range of support services for those in caring roles and their families, including our home care services, volunteer companionship program and free counselling and community support program. If you or someone you know are in a caring role, either personally or professionally, here are some self-care tips to keep in mind as we come to the end of another busy year!
Self-care begins with acknowledging how you are feeling. A mental health check-in can help highlight if you are feeling stressed, tired, or overwhelmed, and then guide how best you can care for yourself in this moment. For example, if you find you are feeling stressed, then asking for help or support, or cutting back on your commitments might be a good place to start. If instead you are feeling tired, then focusing on building a better sleep routine and relaxing activities might be the focus. Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed, getting some professional support is key, such as talking to one of our Co.As.It. counsellors, who provide culturally-sensitive, bilingual, free counselling, with a particular focus on supporting those in caring roles.
After you have checked-in with how you are feeling, and developed a plan to address this, then you must find the time to implement this plan! Carers often struggle to prioritise their own needs, as they are focused in their caring role on helping others. But finding the balance between your own needs and others, is integral to maintaining your energy in a caring role and preventing against burn-out and exhaustion. Carers may struggle to let go of their many responsibilities, but when they do accept help from others, they then find a little more time to look after their own physical and mental well-being. For example, investigating home care services, or talking to your coordinator about what other supports might be available for yourself or your loved one, is a way that you can gain some more time in your personal schedule to be able to do self-care activities and recharge your batteries. All it takes is an hour or two to go for a walk, catch-up with a friend or take yourself out for a coffee to feel a little more balanced and that you are looking after yourself as well as someone else.
Practicing self-care is challenging, especially for carers, who are so used to putting everyone else’s needs above their own. But self-care is a vital part of being a carer, to prevent against fatigue, and maintain enough energy to do our caring roles well! At Co.As.It. we are committed to caring for the carers within our community and offer a range of support services to assist both carers and their loved ones. To enquire, you can give us a call on 9564 0744 or contact us at email@example.com