This year carers week focusses on 'Making Caring Visible and Valued'.

There are 6.5 million carers in the UK and there may be many more that we don't know about. Being a carer is a responsibility that can have it's ups and downs and it's highs and lows and the responsibility of looking after growing or extended families,  on top of being carer can be a challenging balancing act. It's quite often the case that you forget to look after your own needs. Sound familiar?

The following blog gives YOU the carer, a moment to pause and reflect and become more aware of filling up your own cup too. It's an ideal time to focus on the impact that caring has on you, the importance of getting the support you need physically, mentally and emotionally.

So how can you make your responsibility as a carer more visible and valued?

Communication is key, asking for help when you feel overwhelmed, burnt out and need some respite.

- If you are struggling with caring for someone and it has started to affect your mental health, don't be afraid to ask for help. This could be a conversation with a family member, a friend or your GP. Suffering in silence will only make the struggles harder and continue the anguish you may feel. If no one knows how you are feeling then how can anyone offer help, advice or give you a shoulder to lean on. Asking for help does not mean you are failing, it means you care enough to know that you need some help. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Your mental health is as important as the care you are giving out.

- Fill up your own cup by making time for things that soothe your mind, body and spirit.  What do you do for yourself that keeps you level headed with the responsibilities that you have? If you are running on empty then is the person(s) you are are caring for getting the best version of you? 

Self Care and Self Love is not Selfish.

- As carers we can very easily find ways to give love to the ones we are caring and supporting, but what kind of love are you giving to yourself? 

-Take some time each day to find ways that ease your mind; music, meditation, reading a magazine, gardening, taking a nap or try journaling, taking a long bath using your favourite products. 

- Take some time each day to find ways to move your body, stretching, walking in nature, exercise for at least 30  minutes each day.

- Take some time to nourish your body with good nutritious foods and stay hydrated.

If you are reading this and finding it challenging to think of ways to support your own self care, think of the person that you care about and what wonderful things you do for them. Now go and stand in front of a mirror and reflect the same love back to yourself.

We hope you find this blog a helpful tool in identifying your own needs as a carer. Start to make yourself visible and start to feel valued, the more carers that start talking, sharing experiences the greater the support network. 

If you need support with managing your time, building healthy habits, need motivation and some positivity, get in touch with our wellbeing team [email protected]  who can support you and help you to build a healthy lifestyle for body, mind and spirit.

Our advice team  support carers, many from the BAME community and have over 1000 carers on the database from the local area.  Many BAME families from our experience aren't aware of the services available to them. If you are a carer or know someone in your circle who is caring for someone you may be entitled to financial support to help support your role as a carer, and/or help support the person(s) you are supporting.  Call our advice team today and find out what support is available to you 0121 687 6767 or email us [email protected]