Keeping calm and well: tips for you and those you care for
These tips are designed to help both you and those you care for look after yourselves and protect your mental wellbeing:
1. Combat any rising anxiety levels
Set a strict time limit on how much you read about certain events on social media and in the news. For updates on COVID-19, only follow the advice of trusted sources such as the gov.uk and NHS websites. You can also find guidance for carers on our webpage Coronavirus guidance.
2. Allocate a time slot in your day for an activity you enjoy
Whether it’s to read, write, paint, cook, do some gardening or knit, find a hobby you love. Encourage those you care for to make time for activities they enjoy doing, too. Why not join one of our 'share and learn' sessions on Zoom? These are free and cover something for everyone, from classical music to yoga, to salsa and First Aid. See the programme of activities.
3. Try to find moments for yourself
Exercising mindfulness, even just by listening to music, is a great way to find calmness and peace of mind. With help from online guidance, many people find seated exercises, yoga or dance helpful to charge up those endorphins too. Is there an exercise related video or app on your phone you can follow for tips? There are some good ideas for exercises you can do at home on the NHS website. Also see our keeping active and well tips.
4. Find a positive programme or routine to follow
Finding a healthy new routine or adapting your current one can be a good way to keep your emotions in check and it may be helpful to devise a routine for the person you look after, if they need support to do so. Various free online training courses are now available – we have several bespoke ones for carers who want to review and reinvigorate their skills such as Learning for Living.
5. We know getting enough sleep can be challenging for many carers
Some people find meditation exercises before bed really help. Other tips include having a bath with lavender oil, drinking chamomile tea, having a hot chocolate or reading another chapter of that novel you’ve been meaning to pick up again before going to bed. Try to find ways to switch off – especially from online devices.
6. Keep in touch with friends, family and others by phone and online
It’s reassuring to know that it can be easy to communicate even from far away. Using our Jointly app is one example of how carers can do this. Talking and sharing your feelings with someone who understands can be a massive relief and release.
7. There are lots of supportive online groups and sources of help
Our Carers UK online forum is a place where you can connect with other carers facing similar challenges. You could also join one of our wellbeing online chats. For support with developing emotional resilience and improving your sense of wellbeing, you could try out our free online course.
8. If you want to do something fun and energising...
You can also find suggestions on what you can do to keep active here, even if it means staying at home to do your exercise. Doing a small amount of activity every so often can make a big difference to how you feel.
9. Look out for scammers
Most people offering support will be genuine, but beware of scammers masquerading as sources of support and trust your instincts. You can find out more or report a scam on the Citizens Advice website.
10. Get some fresh air
Open your windows, walk around the garden or if you can, try going for a walk or jog. This can help you focus on the present and clear your mind of worries which may be beyond your scope to control.
Struggling to cope?
The tips above may not skim the surface for you. The Samaritans provide a 24-hour listening service:116 123 and there are many other sources of support available. You can always make an appointment to see your doctor if you're feeling particularly down or hopeless. Never hesitate to pick up the phone or worry there is no one to help – many people understand and others will feel very similar.
Do not hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor if you find the feelings of stress or depression are becoming too much or seek help from a specialist supportive organisation such as Mind or Rethink. Also see below for our Carers UK Helpline contact details.
Questions about caring?
You can contact our Carers UK Helpline by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org anytime or calling 0808 808 7777 from Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.