In the early days of attending to the needs of others, we may place our own lives on ‘pause’ without hesitation. This can feel important, essential and unquestionable. However, sustaining this can be more difficult – simply because there are the ongoing daily demands, alongside our own feelings about what our loved one may be going through.
We might be able to manage this for a while, but our ability to hold it all; physical and mental capacity and our own emotional wellbeing, can begin to decline. Eventually, we must face what we have placed on ‘pause’.
We recognise the magnitude of your responsibilities as a Carer. Where possible, attending to your own basic needs – sleep, rest, a balanced diet and drinking water can ensure a manageable day versus an overwhelming one.
Some other simple ways to care for ourselves
Creating your own village – someone you can debrief with, a person who puts the kettle on and is able to just ‘be’ there for you.
Exploring the option of Carer’s Leave from work – some workplaces offer Carer’s Leave. If you can access this, it may provide a bit of reprieve from the understandable stress and juggle.
Space – find the ‘spaces between’ and use that time, however brief it might be, to decompress as best suits you – go for a walk, listen to a podcast, have a slightly longer shower, sit outside, download a mindfulness app.
Listen – to your body. It gives us so much information! As Carers we are so used to tuning into our loved one’s needs that it can be hard to hear our own. It might be telling you it needs a good stretch, or it may be telling you that engaging with a support service for yourself might be timely too.
Breathe – don’t forget to stop and breathe, this is a great way to regulate your nervous system.
Promoting self-care and supporting carers
PIRI has developed programs that focus on perinatal mental health and early parent-infant relationships. These free online programs promote self-care and support carers, including:
- The Baby Steps program, a free online program that covers a wide range of topics, including feeding and sleeping, soothing a crying baby, managing stress and anxiety, and communicating with your partner.
- The Towards Parenthood program, a self-help program that helps expectant and new parents prepare for the transition into parenthood and the challenges associated with becoming a parent.
Carers; you matter
We’re here, uncover your village.
Visit pmhweek.org.au to find support for expectant and new parents in need.