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Giving Yourself A Hand: Coping With Being A Young Carer

Sometimes there are things in life that we never accounted for. When you try to take control of your life, life can throw you a curveball. Many young people find themselves in a position where they have to look after someone, but usually not so early on in life. And when you are making sure that a family member or a partner is healthy and happy you may not consider yourself to be a carer. But between the ages of 18 and 25, you are classed as a “young adult carer.” When we are responsible for someone else, especially when all of our other friends are going out and having fun, it can be a lot to cope with. But what can we all do to ensure that we are healthy and happy ourselves in this situation?

Making the Process Easier for You

One of the biggest problems that anybody speaks of when they are tasked with looking after someone, even if it's just for a few hours a week, is that it can seem like they have no control over the situation. If you are someone who is looking after a family member you've got to think about making it a less stressful process by having a plan in place, even when it comes to something like getting the right mobility for your dependent. You can get a light wheelchair or the right vehicle to suit the needs of the individual. You should never underestimate the importance of help, personal and professional. Structure is a wonderful thing because it helps you to break up your day and make sure you're doing everything that you need to do, but it also gives you the opportunity to reach out for help if you need it. A very good example is something like medication. It's a very stressful thing to make sure that someone takes their pills, especially when there's so many. What can be even worse is if you've forgotten to reorder the items. The great thing is that there are numerous online pharmacies like here that can help you. To make the process easier you've got to have a structure in place. This means that you won't leave anything to chance and you won't forget anything.

Learning to Cope With Your Feelings

It's normal to feel like you can't cope. Whether the situation was thrust upon you or not, that responsibility of looking after someone can get to the best of us. When all your friends are out on a Friday night and living their lives but you are feeling resentful because you've got to stay in, it's these sorts of thinking patterns that can spiral into anxiety or depression. Learning to cope with your feelings is a way of understanding how you think about something and admitting that on occasion you can struggle. The big problem so many carers have is that they feel guilty because they either resent the person they are looking after or they are just exhausted. Learning to cope with your feelings includes a handful of strategies. They are all very simple. Learning mindfulness techniques can help you to calm down and become more aware of yourself in the presence. There are apps that can help you to do this, as well as specific breathing techniques. And even doing these just for 10-minutes a day can have a significant impact. As well, you might want to start journaling where you can write down your thoughts and feelings as a cathartic process. And also, if you feel that you aren't able to do the things that you love, make time for them!

Techniques to Minimise Stress and Anxiety

Looking after someone, even if it's not 24/7, can put a major stress on anybody's life. It's important to find the best ways to minimise stress and anxiety. When you feel isolated, sometimes the best thing is to have a conversation with someone. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved. Meeting up with a friend to tell them how you're feeling can always feel like you are bombarding them with stress but if you've got no one to speak to there are many online support networks like the Carers Trust that can point you towards support groups. Minimising stress can be achieved through various apps like Headspace and techniques but if you are feeling overwhelmed you may want to think about booking an appointment with a GP. The great thing is that if you ask for advice, there's a lot out there. The fact of the matter is that we don't really know what is out there a lot of the time.

Caring for someone can mean that we feel isolated, especially when everybody else our age is out having a good time. It's very easy to feel resentful but you also have to remember that you've got your own life to lead as well.

Louise Mercieca

Nutritional Therapist

Personal Trainer

Award-winning Author

Food writer

Presenter on Early Years TV Food

Keynote speaker

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