What is emotional wellbeing?
The term refers to an awareness, understanding and acceptance of your emotions and the ability to deal with challenges and change. Remaining in the present moment is also vital to your emotional health. Put simply, your mental health is the way you feel on any particular day. Our mental health and wellbeing can also be known as our ‘emotional wellbeing’. Generally, we all have days where we feel good and days when we don’t. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
While occasionally being in a bad mood is normal, constantly having a negative attitude can undermine your internal happiness. To develop a more positive mindset, try to speak with people who make you feel positive. This could be family, friends or other carers. Make a list of things you’re grateful for, remember you are not only a carer, there is more to you than that.
- Give yourself credit for the good things that you do each day
- Everyone makes mistakes. Forgive yourself and others and learn from what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it.
- If possible, surround yourself with positive, healthy people.
- Focus on the good. Few things are all good or all bad. You will feel better if you look at the positive aspects of people, try new experiences or a new hobbies or be involved in everyday activities.
Relieve carer stress
Stress is normal, and its energy rush can help us get things done. Chronic stress is being on ‘high alert’ for a long time and does more harm than good. Here are some healthy ways to cope with stress and boost your resilience:
- Get enough sleep, this is vital to our wellbeing; sleep affects both our mental and physical health.
- Try to relax before bedtime with a warm bath or by reading.
- Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost your mood and reduce stress. Why not join our monthly Carers on the Move walking group.
- Try to build a social support network. This could be online such as joining our carers WhatsApp groups, join in with our weekly online programme, ‘Like our Facebook page or join our monthly online coffee morning.
- Set priorities by deciding what must get done and what can wait. Say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload. It is OK to say NO!
- Establish boundaries. Make sure you spend time doing things that bring you joy and help you feel better about yourself. Remember you can’t care for someone else if you don’t look after yourself too.
- If someone asks you to do something and you don’t think you are the right person for the job, suggest someone else. Remember you can’t do everything yourself, let someone help you.
- Don’t let people talk you into things you don’t want to do or out of things you want to do.
- Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you’ve failed to do.
- Exercise really helps to lift your mood. Walking, swimming or gardening may help you relax, do whatever works for you. Contact us to receive a free swimming pass or join our volunteers to help keep our garden tidy.
- Spending time in nature can create more positive feelings and better mental health, along with lower levels of depression and stress.
- Download our 20 Top Tips for Carers
Getting enough sleep
We all need sleep. It is a vital part of our daily life and keeps us healthy, both physically and mentally.
If you have caring responsibilities, it is not always easy to get enough sleep. Occasionally, having a disturbed night will affect you the following day, but if you are having trouble sleeping for longer than a night or two, then everything will seem harder.
You may find that you are constantly tired, go to sleep during the day, have trouble concentrating and making decisions, and start feeling depressed. Long-term lack of sleep may also increase your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
When you’re caring for someone you may need to see to their needs during the night bringing practical obstacles to getting enough rest. Sometimes though the barriers to sleeping well are more psychological. Caring for someone can often bring extra pressures, such as money worries, emotional worry, isolation, and having no time to yourself.
All of these can contribute to stress, which can make it hard to get to sleep, and keep you awake at night. People who are feeling anxious or depressed also often experience sleep problems. Talk to your GP if you have trouble sleeping, as they can give you advice to help with this.
There are things you can do to help make it easier to sleep and to improve the quality of your sleep. These tips may help you improve your sleeping habits:
- Make sure your bedroom is comfortable – not too hot, cold or noisy.
- Try not to work or have your computer or TV in your bedroom.
- Get some regular exercise – swimming and walking are ideal – but try not to do this too near to bedtime as it may keep you awake.
- Take a look at your mattress. It should be firm enough to support you comfortably, but not so firm that you feel perched on top of it. You should try to replace your bed every 10 years so that it maintains maximum support and comfort.
- Try to cut down on tea and coffee in the evening.
- Try not to eat or drink a lot late at night – have your evening meal earlier if you can.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol. It may help you fall asleep, but makes you more likely to wake up in the middle of the night.
- Spend some time relaxing before you go to bed – a warm bath may help. There are many different relaxation techniques. You could try tapes and books available in your local library or you could join a class.
- Try to keep a regular pattern of going to bed and rising at the same time every day, even if you are not tired
- Keep a notepad by your bed so that if you are worried about something, you can write it down and be ready to deal with it the next day.
- If you still cannot sleep, try not to lie there worrying. Get up and do something you find relaxing like reading, watching TV or listening to quiet music. After a while you may feel tired enough to go to bed again.
- Complementary therapies such as massage or aromatherapy can be a good way to relax.