As a busy mum of 3 children I often feel the world on my shoulders. Some days everything seems too hard. The dog has vomited on the kitchen floor. The kids have eaten all the snacks from the pantry. Then placed a new jumper in the guinea pig cage as a (now heavily soiled) bed… the list goes on.
A feeling of overwhelm follows me throughout my day and I hear those familiar internal alarms going off. I need to stop and take time out so I can be the best and happiest version of myself.
The trees move in the breeze and the fresh damp air fills my nose. I look around on the forest floor, observing new growth, taking steps toward the feeling of peace. I know I have arrived, this is my time.
Self-care for me has always been a retreat to nature. I have learnt the fastest way for me to recharge and unwind is to be amongst the environment. This can be in the way of bushwalking, camping, travelling to a new destination or taking a trail somewhere to see where it leads. I am relaxing in these moments and savour every second of this peaceful solitude.
Caring for a family member in any capacity presents various demands. Whether you are a new mum, a parent of a child with complex care needs, or a daughter to a mum or dad with dementia. This role is often unpaid, overlooked, and can leave little time to replenish the energy we dedicate to our loved ones.
Making time for self-care seems selfish. We sometimes feel guilty. The reality is if we cannot give ourselves a little respite from time to time we simply run out of steam.
Studies show 1 in 9 people living in Australia take on a caring role. This equates to 2.65 million carers looking for support and assistance in their role from time to time.
That is a lot of people looking for some much needed time out.
As I research carers and the importance of self-care, I am drawn into a variety of resources provided through the Carer Gateway.
Carer Gateway was established in 2015. The website was developed in consultation with carers and other people in the sector. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services it provides free services and support for carers, family members, and friends who may fall into this category.
On the Gateway website you can easily access information to link in with free local support groups, counselling, and access to emergency respite. There’s also online courses to deal with a variety of topics such as stress, sleep and legal issues.
The link to Carer Gateway can be found here: https://www.carergateway.gov.au/
As we wrap up the year, I truly hope you all take some time to give yourself some time out. Whether that is a book and a cuppa, a walk in nature, singing carols with your children, or just stopping for a while.
Merry Christmas, have a safe, and refreshing break.