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A self-care checklist for carers

As a carer, you may be thinking about how you are going to manage your self-care whilst spending more time at home with the loved one you help support. Through the active practice of physical distancing and staying indoors, increased contact with the person you care for, if living together, is normal. You, or the person you care for, might miss having a sense of space, so wherever possible, we encourage you to allow some time during the day for yourself. To help you find ways of creating a sense of space, Carers WA have created a checklist that may help you adapt to these changes with self-care and activity ideas to do at home.


1) Creating a routine may help you create a healthy balance and sense of space

With our usual routine put on hold, many people have had to adapt to different lifestyles. By creating a new routine tailored to these changes, your daily work and personal tasks will be defined and separated, creating a balance. This will encourage a healthy space for you and the person you care for.

Do you remember a time when you thought about a project, task or chore you couldn’t accomplish because you were too busy or didn’t think you would be able to complete it? Now is a great time to pursue these projects and get the benefits of trying or achieving these new goals. Write down these ideas on a list, a calendar or in a notebook and see how many you can include in your routine. It’s always a satisfying to tick off tasks and the sense of achievement will leave you feeling optimised for hours!


2) Remembering the simple things


Staying at home and creating time for you with activities that are engaging and enjoyable can be great for your wellbeing and health. Here are some ideas you can think about that may help encourage a healthy space for you:

  • What are some things you still enjoy that you can engage in while at home? Activities such as gardening, creating art, reading, or listening to music are great activities you can do and talk about later with friends and family. Carers WA staff like to use music to wind down from their day or boost their mood. We’ve put together a playlist of some of our staff’s favourites that you can relax or dance to here.
  • Staying physically active, eating well or choosing healthy options where possible is a good practice to get into. Dancing, stretching or using a skipping rope at home will do the trick and keep you feeling fresh.
  • The Government’s health strategy is called “social distancing” but we like to use the term physical distancing as a reminder that right now we need to stay more socially connected than ever. Pick up the phone, chat over the fence or video call your friends and family to talk about anything and everything! Video calling is especially helpful if you want to contact friends or family in an aged care facility. Some residential care facilities have begun using apps like Jitsi Meet to schedule calls so older relatives and partners can stay connected.

Carers WA understand there may be some barriers for older Australians who wish to use video calling capabilities on phones and tablets but may not know how or do not have access to a tablet. This article from the USA lists some helpful tips on getting your elderly relative started including re-purposing old iPads, long forgotten tucked away in drawers and app recommendations to guide your loved ones through set-ups for Skype and Facetime.


3) Do I have realistic expectation and goals?

Is there one thing you can give yourself permission to stop doing (e.g. tasks, expectations) that will help improve your life right now? Is there one thing you would like to do that will improve your wellbeing, which you haven’t had the space or time to focus on before? We can’t control the situation or make COVID-19 disappear overnight, but we can focus on how we look after ourselves, practice good habits and use our time to engage in some self-care, and compassion. This may mean limiting and managing your exposure to the news and media and being mindful of your source of information.


4) It’s okay not to feel okay

COVID-19 has triggered difficult feelings for most of us. Acknowledge your feelings and try not to judge yourself for what you feel. You don’t always have to “look on the bright side” or be productive all the time. Take breaks and pursue activities that create positive memories for you!

If you or someone you know is in need of extra support, Carers WA encourage you to contact our counselling line on 1800 007 332, available from Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 4.30pm.