Looking After You
As a young carer, it's really important to look after your own health too. If you are healthy and have time out for yourself, you will be able to handle your extra caring responsibilities a lot better. Sometimes it's hard to realise when you are not coping as a young carer, because you are too worried or stressed about the person you care for. Below is a list of things to look out for in yourself. If you find that you identify with them in your day to day life, you need to ask for help.
You may need help if...
- You feel depressed, isolated, or lonely.
- You feel ‘trapped' at home.
- You have sore joints or back pain from helping the person you care for.
- You are having trouble making friends at school.
How to look after yourself as a young carer
Many young carers find it hard to get enough sleep. This could be because they are stressed, or they may be woken in the night by the person they care for.
Try these tips if you need to get more sleep:
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Exercise during the day.
- Get some help with your caring responsibilities, so you have time to finish homework without staying up late.
- Write down all the things you are worried about, so you don't think about them while you are trying to get to sleep.
It can sometimes be difficult planning healthy meals when you have so many other responsibilities to think about, but it's really important to have a good diet.
Here are some ideas to help you eat well:
- Make sure you eat breakfast before going to school.
- Try and prepare your lunch the night before, if your home is too hectic in the mornings.
- Contact the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres on 1800 052 222. They may be able to help organise meals when the person you care for is in hospital, or needs extra support.
Get some space
Young carers sometimes say they feel trapped when things are hard at home. It may be because you have a lot of people coming into the house to care for your relative, or perhaps you don’t have much time after school to do things with your friends.
Everyone needs a space to themselves, and young carers especially need time to clear their thoughts.
Below are some ideas to give you more time out from your caring role:
- Find something that you really love (music, a sport, photography, art) and make it a priority to do it at least once a week.
- Have a quiet place that you can go to think and gather your thoughts; it might be the beach, your local library, or a nearby park.
- If you find you need a complete break from your caring responsibilities, know that there are respite services available. Click here to read more.