• Claire Cook

3 quick tips to lift your mood

Carers mood

Perhaps it’s the change in the weather, but many of us have been reporting on a bit of a hump week. It seems (perhaps not surprisingly!) that some of us are a bit fed up!

It’s all been going on for so long now, and for some of us, we may only be half way through. That’s a long haul.

With no “definite outcomes” to hang onto, we can’t plan, we can’t countdown, we’re in some kind of weird limbo.

The thing is, our minds love logic – in fact, they thrive on logic. And so, all this uncertainty is exhausting for our minds. And that’s before you add in the physical exhaustion of caring, the emotional element of caring and the worry that many of us have felt.

It’s perhaps therefore not surprising that our monthly Mobilise Priorities Check with our caring community, is showing an increase in stress and anxiety. This will no doubt be contributing to physical and emotional fatigue and our low mood.

Carer priorities

The trigger largely seems to be the relaxing of lockdown rules, bringing about renewed fears for carers, around a second spike as people start to mix more and more.

So, the first thing to know is that, if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, tired, ‘humpy’, fed up or any other unbeneficial emotion, then you’re not on your own!

The second thing to know is that it’s completely normal!

The third thing to know is that if you’re actually feeling A-OK, then that is perfectly normal too.

We’re all normal – what a relief!

And remember – no feelings last forever. So, enjoy the highs and take comfort that the lows will pass.

The message coming loud and clear from within our community is:

"Just remember to be kind to yourself"

With some awareness, that as carers we're good at giving that advice, but not always great at implementing it for ourselves, with some carers saying they wait until they have "burnt out" before doing something to help themselves.

I guess it's important to remember that there are no medals for soldiering on, but that self-kindness will sustain us for longer......

Duvet Days

carers emotional state

Sometimes you just need to have a bit of a wallow day – or duvet day, as I affectionately call them. Now, I can’t personally do duvet days in the style of my teens or early twenties! After all, there are 3 home schooling children here, one with complex needs. But, on a really low energy day, I am super kind to myself!

I ditch the home schooling, calling an INSET day, make hot chocolates and I pop the TV on. I take as much pressure as I can off of myself. Oh, and I ‘don’t do guilt’. I accept that I need a day like this, to recharge and be my best again for myself and my family.

We’ve been chatting about this in our Facebook community. It would seem that the INSET day was a rather popular idea! I hope I haven’t started a trend for dropping school attendance rates! ;-)

Other ways we handle those tough days, include watching TV – the kind of TV that allows us to just escape a bit and relax our minds, with shows like First Dates and the Simpsons being mentioned! Some of us like to keep our Pyjamas on all day too! And why not?!

While some of us have been relaxing with new hobbies such as using water colours, taking more walks in nature or having picnics in the garden.

A few of us commented that it isn’t always easy to recognise the need to slow down or indeed to actually do it. We’re so conditioned to ‘working hard’, that it can be difficult to simply ‘let go’ a little bit.

Although, it was clear from the carers in our community that we are all understanding the need to be kind to ourselves more and more. After all...

"You can't pour from an empty cup"

"Being kind to yourself, is an important part of being able to replenish and therefore, being able to keep on caring"

So, when we've had our ‘duvet day’ and we are ready to turn our mood dial a couple of degrees, to feel just a little bit better, then there are several really easy and quick things we can do…..

Tip 1 - Pausing to notice the good stuff

However much it may be buried, spending a few minutes to shift your focus onto something you are grateful for, can shift the spotlight of your mind.

Tip 2 - Smile!

You may not feel like smiling, but if you can - then even a fake smile releases endorphins!

Tip 3 - Set an intention

Setting one small goal every day, gives you direction, purpose and most importantly - a sense of achievement, when you have done it. What 'one small thing' will you do today? I think I'll make my bed with fresh, clean sheets - that really will feel good.

Whatever your mood today, hopefully one of these techniques will shift your mood dial a few notches in the right direction. :-)