Taking on a caring role is just like taking on a new job - there will be rewards as well as challenges. Understanding these can help prepare you for the role you are about to take on.
Taking care of yourself
Most of us find it difficult to put aside time for exercise but as little as 30 minutes of moderate activity every day will help you to sustain the physical and emotional demands of your caring role.
Most of us find it difficult to find the time to shop every day for fresh foods, or cook healthy dishes from scratch. Eating well doesn't have to mean spending ages in the kitchen or giving up all your favourite foods.
The demands of caring can sometimes feel relentless and many carers experience physical, mental, or emotional tension related to their caring role. A bit of stress is normal but when stress becomes unrelenting and overwhelming it can begin to affect your health and wellbeing.
Stress management looks at what is causing stree in your life and how stress is affecting you. You can then plan ways to defuse tension or respond better to difficult situations.
Sometimes the demands of caring can make it difficult to focus on household jobs. If you're too tired or busy to cook, or too stressed to eat properly, it can be easy to rely too much on pre-packaged or fast food.
While caring for a family member or friend who has a disability or illness can be a rewarding and positive experience, the ongoing stress can lead to the development of an anxiety disorder.
The demands of caring can be relentless and stressful, and many carers will experience sleep problems as a result. But lack of sleep can affect your resilience, making it harder to cope with stress thus creating a vicious cycle.
Most of us are likely to experience lower back pain at some time of our lives. But if you are caring for a family member or friend with a disability or chronic illness, you are more likely to be at risk of injury.