Carers need time out too - tips for taking care of yourself when you're a carer

Being the primary carer for an ageing loved one, or a loved one with a disability is all encompassing. It’s vital to ensure that you are taking some time to look after your personal health too.
Aside from your wellbeing being important in its own right, the person you are caring for will benefit from a caregiver who has more energy and patience, too.

With this in mind, here are some top tips for self-care strategies for care workers, or carers looking after a loved one.

  1. Take breaks. Spend at least an hour ‘off-duty’ during the day. If the care recipient requires 24-hour care, arrange for a trusted person to take over for you. If you don’t have a suitable volunteer to call on, you can advertise for a care worker who suits your needs on Careseekers. Our care workers are independent contractors who are free to negotiate whatever rates and shift lengths suit you both. Just a little help here and there from a care worker may be all you need to make a world of difference. Don’t forget that our services are authorised for cover with a Home Care Package and NDIS funding , so the cost can be managed even more easily.

  2. Indulge yourself sometimes. Treat yourself to a massage, or a relaxing bath, a meal with friends. And make sure that when you’re with friends, you talk about things other than your caregiving.

  3. Exercise. It’s very easy to forego exercise when you’re tired and stressed. But it’s essential for keeping your body fit and strong. Also, maintaining regular physical activity, even a 15 minute daily walk, will actually increase, not decrease, your energy levels.

  4. Don’t neglect signs that your health is suffering. If you feel ill, or have a virus setting in, rest. If you have troubling symptoms, see a doctor. Do not ignore your own discomfort.

  5. Develop a good sleep routine. Aim for 7-9 hours a night. Adequate sleep does wonders for your mood and your ability to cope with things. Strive to ensure you are getting enough ZZZs.

  6. Recognise when you need some help and support and ask for it. If you’re getting sick often, feeling permanently irritable or on the verge of tears, overreacting to things or even just feeling numb, ask for help. Engage an affordable, private care worker for blocks of time to give you a little break. Remember that Home Care Package funds are authorised to use with Careseekers. If you’re wondering, "how do I find a carer near me?" search the support worker community on Careseekers.

As a carer for a loved one, it is important to maintain your stamina. Make sure you take time out for your own needs and pay attention to everything we’ve spoken about above. And even if it’s your wish to be the main carer for a loved one, some affordable support each week is accessible via our Careseekers platform. We’re an official independent Home Care Package and NDIS provider, which means that all of our services are eligible for cover with the government subsidies packages allocated to older persons and people with disabilities, in Australia.

Looking for home care assistance? Find a support worker online.