Are you worried you can't cope?

Caring can be very fulfilling, but can also be very demanding, leaving you with little or no time for yourself.

You may find it difficult to cope with the huge responsibilities caring brings at times and feel under pressure to balance your life with that of the person you’re caring for.

Sometimes carers don't get enough sleep for long periods of time, don't eat healthily and simply do too much. You may become increasingly exhausted and less able to cope, which can lead to health problems. It can also put a strain on family and personal relationships. 

You may be worried about finances, the future, about not getting enough support or other issues. This can result in you feeling increasingly anxious, frustrated and stressed.  

What is stress?

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else:

Feeling emotional, for example: 

  • being tearful
  • anxious
  • having panics
  • feeling helpless
  • being angry
  • feeling lonely

Physical signs may include: 

  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • lethargy
  • aches and pains
  • changes in weight
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in sleeping pattern.


 

Reducing stress

If you are feeling stressed or anxious, some of these things may help: 

  • Cut down on or cut out drinking alcohol and smoking, as these can increase the physical effects of stress.
  • Drink less coffee or tea as caffeine increases the stress hormone in your body.
  • Try and have some regular physical exercise to help relieve your stress and make you feel better. Consider if you can build a walk into your daily routine. 
  • Learn to say no at least some of the time and ask for help more often.
  • Take care of yourself and make sure you get regular breaks from caring.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep and eat well.  
  • Practice taking deep, slow breathes and repeat until you feel more relaxed.
  • Look into local classes which offer relaxation techniques, such yoga or meditation.
  • Sometimes reaching out and talking to others can help a lot. 
  • It's a good idea to try and recognise when you feel particularly low and try to manage those situations better. 

On-going stress can sometimes lead to depression. The symptoms are very similar to that of stress, including:

  • feeling low or tearful
  • feeling life no longer has any meaning
  • a general feeling of not being able to cope
  • wanting to give up


 

Looking after yourself

As a carer, it can be extremely difficult to find time to relax and unwind. It's important to take some time off to recharge your batteries. You may want to consider:

  • Arranging relaxation therapies such as massage or reflexology
  • Going to a museum, gallery, the cinema or theatre
  • Enjoying your hobbies
  • Seeing friends and family

Richmond Carers Centre offer complementary therapies to allow carers to get away from their day-to-day and unwind, even when they only have a few hours to themselves. 

Richmond Carers Centre
Phone: 020 8867 2380
Web:www.richmondcarers.org
Email: info@richmondcarers.org

Richmond Adult Community College (RAAC) offer a wellbeing programme for anyone who is struggling with stress, low moods or sleeping problems and would like to improve their mental wellbeing. There are a number of free courses designed to help you learn to relax, being creative or learning something new in a social environment might help you in your journey to good mental wellbeing.

 

Richmond Adult Community College (RACC)
Address: RACC, Parkshot, Richmond Upon Thames, London, TW9 2RE
Phone: 020 8891 5907
Web:www.racc.ac.uk
Email: info@racc.ac.uk

Getting help 

There may come a time when the stress starts to feel overwhelming and you need to get additional help.

If you have tried to manage your stress and nothing seems to be working, you should see your GP to get further support and advice. Even if you don't feel too bad, it’s always good to let your GP know that you’re a carer, so they take this into consideration when supporting you.

 

When you are feeling low it’s important to talk to others and share your feelings. Try and talk to your friends or family or find other carers to talk to through local support groups or online forums.


 

Useful contacts:

Richmond Carers Hub Service
Address: 5 Briar Road, Twickenham, TW2 6RB
Phone: 020 8867 2380
Web:www.richmondchs.org
Email: info@richmondcarers.org

Carers in Mind Project
Address: The Maddison Centre 140 Church Road Teddington Middlesex TW11 8QL
Phone: 020 8940 7384
Web:www.rbmind.org
Email: carers@rbmind.org