The Carers Guide to Self-Care: Why Taking a Break is Essential

Caring for someone is generally a selfless role, filled with love, dedication, and countless sacrifices. However, the responsibilities of caring for a family member or a friend can often lead to neglecting your own wellbeing.

Sometimes it’s hard to take the first step into taking a break, feeling like you don’t deserve it, the person you are supporting won’t like it and many other reasons.  Remember that looking after you is the first step to looking after them!

Caring for someone can be physically and emotionally demanding, often leading to stress, exhaustion, and burnout. Research conducted by Carers UK (2019) revealed that a staggering 72% of carers in the UK feel overwhelmed by their caregiving responsibilities. This shows you’re not alone and all carers need to prioritise self-care and take regular breaks.

Taking a break isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity!

Benefits of Taking a Break:

1.Reduce Stress: Even a short break can help alleviate stress and prevent burnout.

2.Prioritise your Health: Taking a break allows carers to focus on their own health needs, ensuring you’re fit and able to continue providing care.

3.Improve your Wellbeing: Breaks provide the opportunity to pursue hobbies, spend time with other people, and engage in self-care activities.

4.Improve Relationships: Spending quality time with friends and family during breaks can strengthen relationships and reduce feelings of isolation.

5.Regain Energy: Stepping away from caring duties allows for a fresh perspective, leading to increased creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Practical Steps to Taking a Break:

1.Recognise Your Needs: Acknowledge that caring for yourself is essential for effective caring for someone else.

2.Reach Out for Support: Connect with local carers centres or support groups for guidance and assistance. Take advantage of resources offered by organisations such as Care for the Carers, including information and practical support.

3.Explore your Options: Research care support available in your area, there are small and big options available or speak to Care for the Carers, your local carers centre, for advice.

4.Plan Regular Breaks: Schedule breaks into your caring routine to allow you to have regular small self-care.

5.Don’t Wait: Prioritise self-care before reaching breakdown. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

As carers, it’s easy to prioritise the needs of others above our own. However, taking a break is not only essential for maintaining our wellbeing but also for providing the best possible care to family and friends we are supporting. Remember, be kind to yourself too – taking a break is not selfish!

Get in touch with Care for the Carers, your local carers centre, for information about all support available and take the first step! Call them on 01323 738390, text on 07860 077300, email on [email protected]

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