We’ve had lots of fun in our community talking about many topics surrounding why doing something outside our normal routine is good for us. From planning carer-friendly staycations and creating moments of fun over the summer, to taking a couple minutes out of our day to reflect on how we're doing.
And we’re reporting back on how great it’s made us feel.
It comes back to the old saying that,
“A change is as good as a rest”
And let’s face it, sometimes, a straightforward ‘rest’ can seem a far off reality! Especially right now, with access to respite so limited. So we've been looking at the benefits of 'a change' - 'a break from the norm'.
However, for some of us, the mere thought of all this extra ‘effort’ may put us off. But.
It’s more than just fun. It’s a valuable tool in managing our stress levels. It’s also a great way of experiencing some positive change (if we can’t go away this Summer), to recharge us, and which is hugely beneficial for our minds.
And there is some strong reasoning behind this. We feel a sense of energy and refreshment from doing something different. Something out of our usual norm. A break from the often-relentless cycle of routine.
It gives us vitality.
And we know this really, so this is just our friendly reminder.
What happens when we don’t get a break
According to ‘In sickness and In Health Survey’ (2012), which surveyed 3,400 carers in the UK:
“83% of carers stated that caring has had a negative impact on their physical health and 87% of carers stated that caring has had a negative impact on their mental health.”
So over 80% (almost 90%) of us have, or will experience negative health impacts from our caring role. It’s so important that we look after ourselves. Like a beautiful classic car that needs servicing, polishing, buffing and good quality fuel to keep running!
There can be some strong resistance to anything that looks like ‘more work’ however. And some valuable arguments to 'finding the time' to look after ourselves.
For example, I know that going on a beautiful country walk leaves me feeling invigorated and energised. I also know that doing something fun and bit out of my comfort zone, leaves me feeling a buzz! So why do I sometimes struggle to motivate myself?
Because – like many of us – I’m tired! The crazy thing is I know the walk will energise me, and stepping out of my comfort zone makes me feel invincible! And so, it’s the focusing on the outcome (energised and invincible!) – rather than the exhaustion I feel before I go – that gets my legs moving one in front of the other.
If we forget to pop fuel in the car, it will stop running. If we don’t stop to ‘buff and polish’ it will start to rust. ;o)
“Looking after ourselves should be a mandatory social prescription for carers!”
A Change can be the antidote to ‘Rest-Time’
As carers, it’s not always possible to have a rest in the conventional sense, but boy do we need to rest. To remain sustainable, to keep caring.
Our blog, "How to take care of yourself when there is not time to take care of yourself" has some simple and practical tips for incorporating some ‘moments’ into your day.
But in addition, why not take up the tips here, about creating change. Breaking the daily habits and feeling the benefit.
Having ‘a change’ may be more achievable than a straight forward rest. As it’s something we can include the person we care for in.
Five 'A Change is as good as a Rest' ideas from our carer's community:
1. Create a Staycation, with some of the tips from our community!
2. Introduce a ‘commuter walk’ around the block, before your day begins! Whether we’re working from home or caring all day long (or both). This change of routine and scenery can set you up for the day.
3. Take a day off from routine. Take ourselves and the person we care for (if respite isn’t available and if their care needs allow) and do something fun or just simply ‘different’. A trip to an open garden, the local woods, visit a friend.
4. Arrange a quiz or game with friends. Our Funtastic Friday cuppas are great for this!
“5. Our daughter loves swimming in the sea. So we’re going to hop in the car at the weekends and go to the beach! It might not be Spain, but she loves it and we all feel invigorated. Tired, but in a good way!”
And if we’re still feeling that these are just too much ‘hard work’ to contemplate, here’s what our community have been saying:
"They give me an emotional lift"
"A change makes me feel good"
"I stop worrying about the humdrum for a while"
"You’ll probably be tired regardless, so what’s to lose"
"I imagine and visualise the buzz I’ll feel from just doing something different"
So, if it’s ‘take a break from the norm’ or ‘break’, we choose ‘take a break’!
What will be your first step to have a break from your normal? Please let us know either below or in our Facebook community. Just ‘putting it out there’ will help it become real and more likely to happen. Our mind will take us seriously if we start telling people. We become accountable too!
I've popped my commitment above!
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