Tackling Carer Depression

Being a carer is hard work for anyone. It’s probably the hardest job you are ever likely to do, but caring for a loved one isn’t only physically exhausting, it can be lonely, frustrating and can raise all kinds of emotional issues.

If your ‘bad days’ are getting more and more frequent then  maybe it would be a good idea to see your GP. They are very experienced in helping with these kinds of issues. It’s important to find ways that you maybe able to help yourself.

  • You need to make sure you are looking after yourself and eating properly. It’s surprising how many carers forget about their own needs and put themselves at the bottom of the list. You need to make time to make sure you are eating regularly and a healthy diet to keep yourself physically fit and healthy.
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep. If the person you are caring for disturbs your sleep, make sure you try and nap in the day whenever you can. Sleep helps the brain recover from fatigue and lack of sleep may contribute to depression.
  • Consider complimentary therapies. There are many different types of therapies available for people to try, from herbal remedies to reflexology and meditation. Have a look into what is available and try some out for yourself.
  • Try keeping a diary – write in it everyday and express how you are feeling. Unloading all your thoughts and frustrations could really help to improve your mood.
  • Make sure you take time out for yourself. Even a short time doing something that you enjoy will make you feel better. It can be something as little as having a bath or doing a crossword but always make the time to do something for yourself.
  • Get Outside. Outside exercise is proven to be very effective in lifting low mood. Contact with nature can significantly reduce stress levels and enhance your mood. Try and go for a walk in the park or do some gardening. Being outside will also help the person you are caring for if they are able to.
  • Try to be positive. Remember each day the successes that you have had and the rewards that caring have brought you. Having a positive attitude helps to combat anxiety and depression. Taking one day at a time is very important.
  • Arrange to meet a fellow carer or a friend and have a “good old chat”. Ask them to help you put things into perspective and remind you of the positives.

If the self-help tips don’t seem to make any difference or you don’t feel a significant change in your mood then it may be time to speak to your GP. Your GP should be able to offer you something that will be able to help you, anything from medication to talking therapies. Further support and advice is available at www.carerssupport.org.uk