Once a month we ask the Mobilise community of carers "what is your priority at the moment?" Their answers gives us a great overview of what is happening for carers and we are starting to see some trends emerge through the ups and downs of the coronavirus pandemic.
Practical issues have become less of a priority in the past month. Carer stress and anxiety is on the increase. Concerns about the virus did dip in May but with the changes to lockdown restrictions they increased in importance in early June.
More about June's priorities for carers
When carers answer the poll they tell us a little about why they chose the answer they did, this gives us more of an insight, in particular to concerns about the virus and their own stress and anxiety. They appear to be connected.
"As lockdown eases, I think the risk of the virus getting close has gone up because people will be more relaxed and less vigilant"
"In case there is something we aren't doing that we should be doing"
"Neighbours have been having parties and no-one is wearing a mask on public transport"
"I am constantly anxious and worrying"
"To keep loved ones indoors is taking a toll on the carers as being with them 24/7 is a stress in itself"
The long-term nature of lockdown and the challenges of the coronavirus situation have built up and weigh heavily on carers' shoulders. Many things seem out of our control.
What might help?
Recognising how we are doing and knowing that others feel the same can be a good first step to stop the stress and anxiety building up. Finding a safe place to talk about how we are feeling is important too. Carers joining the Mobilise Virtual Cuppas have shared their feelings on anxiety, "just saying it out loud helps". Carers say these simple steps are helping:
Be kind to yourself - you don't have to be disappointed with yourself if you have noticed signs of stress and anxiety
Create a small amount of space for you - time outside, a bath, reading a book, listening to music, a meal on your own. Let people know you are taking this time.
Breathe - whether it is simple breathing exercises, something you have learnt in yoga, meditation or mindfulness sessions or just breathing deep and slow into your stomach.
Talk to someone who is a good listener - this might be someone you know well or a stranger from a listening service - there are some really useful phone numbers on a document you can download, add to and print off here.