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The Importance Of Self-Care For Carers

by | Apr 19, 2023 | Carers

The notion of “self-care for carers” is likely an unfamiliar one to those that provide care on a professional level or to a friend or family member day in and day out.

It is an entirely selfless role; so much so that carers are often so busy looking after the needs of others that they forget the importance of caring for themselves.

However, with a 2021 UK study finding that 72% of carers admitted to experiencing mental health issues as a result of caring, it appears that the idea of self-care in the context of carers should become a necessity rather than a luxury.


Why self-care for carers is vital


It’s no secret that caring for someone else is an emotionally and physically demanding task.

Despite the many benefits of caregiving, such as the feeling of purpose it gives and the sense of accomplishment over making a real difference in someone’s life, it can be challenging to balance the needs of a service user with basic personal needs. It is essential to recognise the toll that this can take on a carer’s overall health.

When it comes down to basics, a care provider who is depleted both physically and mentally will be unable to carry out their work to the best of their ability, and this means the welfare of those they look after will be compromised.

Nurturing personal well-being through self-care is therefore an essential activity to support the provision of compassionate and diligent caregiving.


Top self-care for carers tips


Here are the top tips and resources for carers to keep in mind while looking after others:


Take regular “me time”


A large portion of a carer’s life is spent looking after the needs of others. It is therefore essential for the carer to take regular breaks and make time to do things they enjoy that help them to switch off.

Whether it’s going for a walk, reading a book or practising meditation, finding time for activities that provide headspace can help a carer to recharge and reduce stress.


Sleep is everything


Getting enough sleep is essential for physical and mental health in general, but particularly for those with jobs that revolve around the welfare of others. A carer should take time to establish a regular sleep routine and to ensure they are getting enough sleep each night.


The Importance Of Self-Care For Carers - Blanchardstown and Inner City Home Care Association (2)


Connect with family and friends


Although undeniably rewarding, caring for others on a full-time basis can be isolating. To avoid this creeping in, carers need to stay connected to the most important people in their lives.

Making time for social activities and maintaining relationships with family and friends through regular contact feeds a carer’s need for emotional support while providing an outlet for fun and family time.


Self-care for carers means asking for help


Carers are often so busy looking after the needs of others, they forget to ask for help themselves.

If the job becomes daunting and begins to have an impact on overall mental health, a carer needs to seek support when necessary. Whether that takes the form of joining a support group or seeking professional help, there are resources available to help those in the caring community cope with the challenges that come with the territory.


Maintain a healthy mind and healthy body


Regular physical activity can help to reduce stress and boost energy levels. Finding time for exercise each day, even if it’s just a short walk or a light workout, can go a long way in improving the overall mental health of carers.

Eating well supports this, by collating a healthy mind with a healthy body; two essential requirements for caregiving. Striving for a healthy diet filled with fruit, vegetables and whole grains (minus the processed, sugary foods we often veer towards when at our most tired) will provide the best fuel for the job at hand.


At Blanchardstown and Inner City Home Care, we take care of our carers


As an organisation that’s been in operation for over two decades, we recognise the importance of self-care for our team at Blanchardstown and Inner City Home Care. We offer the necessary resources and support to help our professional carers take care of themselves while providing care to others.

We also provide training and development opportunities, flexible work arrangements and access to resources and support to all of our valued team members.

If you are working or studying in the home care sector and are interested in a career that is challenging, rewarding and makes a difference in people’s lives, we want to hear from you. Start changing lives and change yours too – get in touch with us and begin your journey as a home carer today.

Don’t forget to check out our new blog for more tips and resources for caregivers.