Caring for the carer
The CF clinic team has probably given you lots of information about cystic fibrosis and how to manage day-to-day health. But bear in mind that the most important part of this whole plan is you.
Research has indicated links between a carer’s wellbeing and the mental and physical health of the person being cared for. Self-care can come in many forms and, although it can be difficult, it’s important to find time for it.
Looking after you
Be kind to yourself; here are a few ideas that can often help.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. Acknowledge that you can only do so much, and allow yourself to make mistakes and forget things occasionally. You aren’t going to get it perfect every day
- Use positive self-talk. Focus on what you achieve each day and the quality of life your family has.
- Celebrate the wins.
- Take time out. This will make you more resilient.
- Practice relaxation or mindfulness.
- Make sure you get enough rest, eat healthily and exercise – they’re all good for you and great role modelling.
- Acknowledge that you can only do so much, and allow yourself to make mistakes and forget things occasionally.
Taking care of your mental health
Good mental health is an important part of treating CF, both for people living with CF and the people around them. Mental health impacts on physical health, and conversely physical health also affects mental health. You can’t treat one in isolation from the other.
Share your feelings with someone you trust, and don’t be afraid to show your emotions. Be aware that difficult events may set off memories, sadness and anxiety
It’s normal to experience feelings of anxiety or depression. It’s also important to ask for help and talk about how you are feeling. Tell people who offer to help exactly what you need – a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, or making meals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept it as it comes.
If your feel that you need to explore options for professional help to work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles, visit Beyond Blue.
Over the years you will have learned a wide array of coping strategies and styles. Now it’s important to tap into the resilience and resources you already have to cope with the challenges of caring for someone with CF. Your coping strategies can vary widely, from having a coffee with a friend to reading a celebrity magazine or seeking out professional help.
You might have used exercise to cope in the past but suddenly find you have very little time for it. However, including exercise in your weekly routine may be an important part of your CF care. Tap into the resilience and resources that you already have to help you cope with the challenges.
Sometimes it’s great just to talk with someone who knows what you are going through. CF Community Care can connect our members with others from the CF community who share similar experiences. Contact our office on (03) 9686 1811 or email email@example.com if you would like a confidential one-one-one chat.