Published 17th May 2019 by

During Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to help you with some advice around different mental health conditions that may affect you and your caring responsibility.

We at Carers Matter Norfork know and understand that being a carer is not easy, and that your caring role can have a significant impact on your physical and emotional health. With 7 out of 10 of carers saying they’ve suffered mental health problems because of their caring role, we realise this is a significant issue.

Exercise

Exercise can be a real benefit for some people and finding an exercise you like can really help boost your mood. Examples of exercise for positive moods would be things like going for a brisk walk, playing sports with friends or joining an exercise class. However, we know that being a carer, you will not have as much time for exercise, with 57% saying they’ve had to reduce the amount of exercise they have. Also, exercise isn’t for everyone but, even small changes like taking the stairs instead of a lift (if it is possible), could help lift your mood.

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Self-Help

The NHS recommends talking through your feelings about your caring role to people you know, as this may be helpful. Opening up about how it makes you feel and any difficulties that come alongside it will help other people to understand your situation more. This could be your friends or family, however, if you are not comfortable doing this, you could also have a look for local self-help groups, self-help books or online cognitive behavioural therapy. Alternatively, you could call our advice line on 0800 083 1148. They will help you talk through your feeling and give you advice on things you may struggle with as a carer, such as finance, lack of time, loneliness, stress, physical health etc.

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Counselling

Counselling can be really helpful for some people, talking through your thoughts and feelings with someone away from the situation can help alleviate some of your worries, fears and thoughts around your caring role. We provide free telephone and online-based counselling for caring related emotional issues (e.g. managing stress or loneliness resulting from caring or processing changes in roles and identities: now a carer and husband). To access counselling call our advice line on 0800 083 1148 to enquire about free counselling.

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Applied Relaxation

This is a method of trying to relax your muscles in a particular way during situations that usually cause anxiety. It is taught by a trained therapist but often involved learning how to relax your muscles in response to trigger words such as relax. We realise you may not have much or any spare time however you can try techniques of applied relaxation at home, by trying things like meditating for five minutes, yoga, or simply finding a quiet room to read a book for ten minutes to try and relax. All of this can have a benefit to you as a carer and could support you to have more resilience and energy for your caring role.

Being a carer is tough, and we know that. With many carers suffering from burn out, physical ill health, loneliness, anxiety, depression, exhaustion etc. We know that being a carer is hard, but even if you get two minutes to yourself, try some of the techniques above, and let us know how they go. If you need support, call our advice line on 0800 083 1148 for free independent and confidential information, advice and guidance on a range of issues including how to access counselling.

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This is not a definitive list of techniques to help you cope, more strategies can be found here. However, if you are struggling to cope, please speak to your GP, they will give you the best advice possible. For more information, please visit the NHS website.