BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour - 'Acknowledge that it's hard': How to look after yourself as a carer

6/12/2020 7:12:00 PM

Tips to look after yourself as a carer

Carersweek, Tenderbook

“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean 'me first'; it means 'me too'.” Read author and carer pennywincer's best tips for self care when you are caring for others 👉 CarersWeek TenderBook

Tips to look after yourself as a carer

'Acknowledge that it's hard': How to look after yourself as a carerMany of us face the prospect of caring for someone else at some point in our lives, whether it's a parent, child or partner. It's estimated that there are 7 million people in the UK caring for loved ones and Penny Wincer has been a carer twice - first to her mother, and now as a single parent to her autistic son.

In her new book Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring she combines her own story with the experiences of others and offers guidance and support. Here she tells Woman's Hour why looking after yourself is such a fundamental part of caring for another...

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Main content 'Acknowledge that it's hard': How to look after yourself as a carer Many of us face the prospect of caring for someone else at some point in our lives, whether it's a parent, child or partner.What impact has Covid-19 had on women’s personal finances? Bettany Hughes - A Greek Odyssey.Show more Candice Brathwaite set up the group called Make Motherhood Diverse in order to set right a wrong.(Image: GETTY) Little Britain was removed from all UK streaming platforms this week due to blackface use (Image: BBC) BBC's Nick Robinson loses cool as Tory MP fails to answer key question “I thought, who is my hero? Nelson Mandela - who I had the pleasure of meeting once - and what’s the stereotype of black people?  "Well, at the time there was a lot of things in the papers about drugs, so I made him a drug dealer or a pedaller of alcopops for children and things like that, which I thought was so wrong that it was right.

It's estimated that there are 7 million people in the UK caring for loved ones and Penny Wincer has been a carer twice - first to her mother, and now as a single parent to her autistic son. In her new book Tender: The Imperfect Art of Caring she combines her own story with the experiences of others and offers guidance and support. The murder of Berta Cáceres. Here she tells Woman's Hour why looking after yourself is such a fundamental part of caring for another. She tells us about her debut book I Am Not Your Baby Mother, a guide to life as a Black British mum.. The debt advice charity, Step Change, warned that British households are expected to rack up debts worth a combined £6bn because of the health emergency as they fell behind with their bills.. You’re using it in inverted commas.

Acknowledge your own needs “One of the greatest things I learnt from looking after my mum was that when you’re supporting someone else, you really have to take care of yourself as well,” says Penny. Jenni talks to Jude Kelly, Founder of the Women of the World Festival who is involved in the Insuring Women’s Futures programme, Zubaida Haque, Interim Director of the Runnymede Trust and a member of the Independent Sage and a commissioner for the Women’s Budget Group and Amy Cashman, CEO of Kantar’s Insights Division. The link between misogyny and domestic violence will be discussed by MPs next week as part of their line-by-line examination of the Domestic Abuse Bill. “So many of us are in this for the long term. If we keep our needs front and centre we can be the best we can to care for the people we’re supporting. Sailing through the Greek islands, she makes new archaeological discoveries, visits iconic sites and uncovers the truth around the myths and legends of the ancient world; including iconic women such as Hera, Helen, Calypso and Iphigenia. "Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first; it means 'me too'. Advice can seem ludicrous to some carers – how can you get enough sleep if you’re up half the night? How can you do an exercise class when you’re ‘on duty’ 24/7? “As difficult as it is, we must find small, manageable ways to look after ourselves. Coronavirus has made visible a group of people who were often invisible – volunteers.” The host responded:"It’s an interesting point.

Self-care isn’t about spending lots of money or even lots of time. It can be about infusing your day with tiny acts of kindness towards yourself, such as wearing your favourite colours, savouring a really good cup of coffee or getting 5 minutes alone. Local residents’ groups have got together to help those who can’t get to the shops, or to call people who might be experiencing severe isolation.” Talk about your experiences “When I was caring for my mother, one of the most challenging things for me was that I didn’t have the words to describe what was happening in our house. So I didn’t really know who I could talk about it with and also who I could go to for help. They told their stories to Laura Thomas. “You cannot do this alone.

Supporting someone we love can be really challenging, even if we are very glad to be doing it. Berta Cáceres – a celebrated Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader – was murdered in 2016. We need support. Humans are not supposed to live in isolation. But after a relentless stream of threats, intimidation and harassment failed to deter her, Berta was brutally killed. So reaching out to other carers online and in person can help us feel less alone.” Understand these difficult feelings are normal “A lot of suffering that happens with carers is this idea that 'it shouldn’t be this way' - that our child shouldn’t be disabled, or our partner shouldn’t have become disabled. She talks to Jenni.

“It’s common for carers to feel a sense of loss around these major life changes. Whether that’s giving up paid work, giving up a future we had planned or not having the freedom we once had, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings. Acknowledging [them] can be a big step towards letting the feelings go.” Try to unpick where these feelings come from “When someone we love becomes or is born disabled, it’s important that we unpick our feelings around disability. We live in a society that tells us, both explicitly and through omission, that being disabled is the worst thing that can happen to you.

But much of the difficulty around being disabled is caused by a society that is inaccessible and treats disabled people as less than human. “When we understand that and we instead look to disabled people to understand what their experiences are actually like, we can be less afraid for our loved one’s futures. We need to look at it as a quite natural, normal part of life. It’s a very common experience, and caring for somebody who is disabled is also quite a common experience.” Don’t be too hard on yourself “You need to acknowledge that it is hard and you are doing a good job in often very challenging circumstances – so let yourself off the hook.

Sometimes caring is just really difficult and there is nothing we can do except be there for the person we love. “I think at first, as a carer to a disabled child, I would really criticise myself a lot for not getting it right, for making mistakes that would mean my son ended up in a big meltdown. But really, criticising yourself into being a good carer doesn’t work. “In those moments we can offer ourselves comfort and compassion, when there is no one else there to do it. Self-compassion reminds us of our common humanity, that what we are doing is something that many people would find challenging.

If you can have compassion for yourself, then you can have more compassion for who you’re caring for as well. It is possible to treat ourselves the way we would treat a good friend who was in a similar position - with kindness.” If you or someone you know needs support with caring, you can .