Five Reasons to Be Kind to Yourself as a Carer

It seems everyone needs a reason to be kind to ourselves. In this age of bullying, it’s quite a shock to realise that the biggest bullies we face are often ourselves. As a carer, we often forget to be kind to ourselves and bully our most precious commodity – our self-worth. So, with this in mind I thought I’d share 5 reasons to be kind to yourself as the primary carer of a person with special needs.

  • Where would they be without you? If you were to suddenly fall ill or be knocked over by a bus where would the person/people you care for be left? Would they be passed from one family member to another, go into foster care/young care/aged care? Who would know those special words that calm them? Who would advocate for them? The people we care for need us to be at our best. Love yourself for who and what you are.
  • Take time out. Now I’m not saying it needs to be a lot of time. 10 minutes a day can go a long way. Meditate, read, water the garden, even hiding in the laundry folding clothing can be all you need to get you breathing and back on track.
Enjoying a glass of wine with friends
Enjoy adult time with your friends, it will make you a better carer
 
  • You’re doing you best! If you don’t think you are doing your best, seek help! Whether it be a councillor, parenting course or support group. You can only be the best you can be with the knowledge you have. Unfortunately, kids and caring for people with disabilities don’t come with easy to read manuals. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you know or don’t know. The best you can do is your best. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t work out the way you envisaged. Learn from the experience and know if it comes up again you will be able to handle it better than the last time.
  • It’s your life too! It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘caring role’ and forget to take care of yourself. What with the lack of sleep, looking after other children, family, husband/partner, Doctor/hospital appointments and often work commitments it’s easy to forget that you are a person with need and wants. Enjoy the small things – singing and dancing with the kids while listening to the radio; catching up with your girlfriends for some “me” time. Whatever makes you feel like you. Yes, like you this is the one I struggle with the most as I always feel guilty for taking time for myself, but you know what? I was a way better mum/carer for taking this time.
  • Acknowledge that its ok not to be a “Super” mum. We all have those doubtful moments. Not everyone is a ‘natural’ at being a carer/mum, and even if you are, there are times when you feel that you’re not doing it like/as good as everyone else. Well you know what you’re probably not! It’s ok to do things differently to others. We are all individuals and being a super mum is knowing when to say NO! Its knowing what is best for your child. It’s being the best mum you can be, not what the media says is a “Super” mum.
Supermum
You don’t have to be SuperMum!
All in all, if you are not kind to yourself and look after yourself, no one else will. In a world full of “Me, me, me” syndrome, taking a few minutes each day to yourself will not be seen as selfish. It will be acknowledged as normal. You deserve it. You work hard to help your special needs family reach their full potential. Make sure you reach yours!

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