Look after yourself
All too often carers can take a back seat while they are preoccupied with the health and wellbeing of the person they care for.
But your health and wellbeing are equally as important as the person you look after – if you aren’t well yourself then how will you support them?
Being a carer can be demanding, so finding the time to look after your own wellbeing and health can be vital.
The biggest reason for lack of regular activity is always time.
And we know that, as carers, you are more time poor than most which means exercise can very easily be bottom of your long list of things to do every day.
But what if you were able to change that?
When we hear the word “exercise” or “fitness” we can immediately think of hour long gym sessions or dedicated workouts that need time to change clothes and shower afterwards.
And while these forms of exercise have great health benefits – if they are not realistic for you and your lifestyle, then they are never going to be something you fit in.
So, what is the answer?
The truth is, that to reap all the amazing benefits of exercise, you simply need to move more.
This can be moving more around the house, taking a longer route to the shops, not sitting down without getting up for more than an hour or taking a 10 minute stroll around the block.
Starting small, with little bits of more regular movement is not only more achievable, it is also more likely that you will find the motivation to do it.
And the more we increase our daily movement, the more it becomes a habit.
Imagine if someone said to you “once a week you have to go for a walk for 70 minutes.”
You would probably immediately think “I’ll never be able to do that.”
But if someone said to you “Once a day go for a walk for 10 minutes” you’d more than likely think, that sounds easy, I could do that.
The more realistic we can be about movement the more likely we are to prioritise fitting it into our day.
So this week, have a think about where in your day you could fit in a little walk or a little wiggle – and START SMALL.
A little morning stretch every day for 5 minutes. A 10 minute walk at lunchtime once a day, or a 15 minute home workout.
Start with these small, achievable chunks of movement and once they become more of a habit for you, it’s then that you can start to increase them.
TIME EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MOVE MORE
Take a longer route to the shops/post office/school, walk around the house while you’re on the phone walk/squat/move around while the kettle boils or you are cleaning your teeth. Get up 5 minutes earlier and do a morning stretch in your PJS Plan active activities for social occasions e.g. a walk and coffee in the park, crazy golf, a museum. try home workouts, often free on YouTube they eliminate the time to get to a gym.
Start your journey today with Move Together
Move Together is brand new for Oxfordshire and is here to support you to move more, to help improve your physical health, mental health and wellbeing. Starting to move more, in a way that works for you, is hugely beneficial.
Are you struggling right now?
To help look after yourself, it’s advisable to get a carer’s assessment. This gives you the chance to understand about the impact of being a carer has on your life, ways of managing your caring role and help to find support services (including breaks). It’s not an assessment of how well you look after the person you care for, it’s all about helping you and is something you’re legally entitled to.
”The assessment is about the carers needs and focussed on how I was going to cope with caring. It was so much more supportive, focusing on ‘what can we do to help you’ rather than ‘why can’t you manage?”
James – Carer