Across the UK, many people, including children, are caring for loved ones at home. The emotional, mental and physical strain and demands of this responsibility can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it’s vital carers take time out to look after themselves.
Some people are full-time carers for their loved one, others – dubbed the ‘hidden workforce’ – are also combining full or part time work with looking after an unwell or disabled loved one, while the ‘sandwich generation’ are caring day-to-day for their young children and elderly relatives.
Recent research (report published by Aon) estimates that by 2040, one in six UK workers will balance their job with caring responsibilities.
Unpaid carers provide around £132 million worth of care each year, an estimated 2.6 million people have given up work to provide care at home, and almost half of workers with caring responsibilities describe their situation as ‘stressful’, with 20% falling ill themselves.
A lack of time often means it’s hard to regularly make some ‘me time’, but it’s so important to switch off in order to look after your own mental, and physical, health:
As well as a lack of time, it’s understandable there’s also often a lack of energy to spend with other people. Socialising becomes difficult, and there’s less time to spend on hobbies and interests, and carers can become isolated.
Finding support groups with other people who understand what you’re dealing with is important. As well as groups that meet up for a cuppa and a chat face-to-face, there are also virtual, online meetings or ‘chat rooms’ rather than sessions for which you need to leave the house, which is impossible for some and their personal circumstances.
Juggling pressures of work and caring can cause anxiety, stress, and money worries. Finding reliable resources on financial support that is available is key, as is being open and honest with employers about your situation.
Look at the websites for organisations like Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Citizens Advice for information, guidance and signposting.
Getting enough sleep, eating well, taking time to exercise and get outside, are all ways to keep ‘mentally healthy’ – but are also all things that can be neglected or fall to the wayside when you’re caring for another person.
Make sure you get the support from the local authority you (as a carer) are entitled to, so check out their website or give them a call to discuss your entitlements.
This article forms part of our series during Mental Health Awareness Week. Read our other articles Loneliness in the workplace and Balancing the loneliness disconnect across agriculture
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness. Find out more: Mental Health Foundation announces ‘loneliness’ as theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 | Mental Health FoundationContact us
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