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Self-help for carers

When you are feeling down or overwhelmed, it can be very easy to fixate on the negative and to forget the things that are going well in your life.

People often have unreasonably high expectations of themselves when looking after someone who has care needs. We can judge ourselves more harshly than we judge other people, and we don't always recognise our own achievements.

In difficult times, when it seems like little positive change can be made, it is vital to give yourself a pat on the back for any small achievement you make. Simple day-to-day achievements need praise, too. Remember to congratulate yourself on coping with the everyday demands of caring and providing support to someone who needs you.

Spending time with other people who care – in support groups, for example – can be a great way for you to recognise how demanding giving care is. It can also be a good affirmation of what you are already doing well, as these people will understand what the caring experience can be like.

One of the most important things you can do to look after your needs as a carer is to make time just for you. This may seem self-indulgent, but it is really necessary to make sure that you can carry on doing a good job as a carer.

Even if you feel like you don't have time, setting aside even just half an hour in your day to do something like soak in a bath or go for a walk can be a great way to recharge your batteries. You may be able to access some respite care to make it easier for you to take a break, or perhaps you could ask family or friends if they can help out.

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Page last reviewed: 11/12/2013

Next review due: 11/12/2015

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