Maintaining your wellbeing
When you are focusing on the person you are caring for it is important that you do not neglect your own wellbeing. The five way to wellbeing is an evidenced-based approach to maintaining your own wellbeing. More details are here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/.
Below are some tips that many people say have helped them improve their sense of wellbeing. Some of these may seem obvious, but they can often be forgotten during the course of a busy day:
- Make time for yourself.
- Learn to say ‘no’: you cannot do everything.
- Don't neglect your own health needs.
- Find time to rest and get enough sleep.
- Focus on the positive aspects of your life: what do you enjoy? What are you good at?
- Find an exercise you enjoy that gives you time for yourself.
- Talk to someone: a friend, family member or phone support from a carer group.
- Ask for a carer’s assessment or a review of your needs whenever you need it.
- Keep important numbers near you or on your phone.
- Ask your GP to register you as a carer as this will make it easier when seeking support and benefits.
Tips for dealing with difficult situations
The following tips have been adapted from Rethink and Carers UK. They are designed to inform you of ways to deal with difficult situations if they arise.
- Get to know the signs of rising tension. These could be rocking, stuttering, colouring of the face, pacing, hand-wringing.
- Let everybody win. If you can defuse a situation then you have won, and if your loved one has not lost face and has kept their pride, they have won, too.
- Walk rather than run, lower your voice, move slowly, and avoid sudden movements.
- Count to ten. As you do this, check your mood, assess the situation, decide on a first course of action, confirm it to yourself then do it.
- Once you get someone talking, let them let off steam, don’t try to stop them.
- Accept that your life has changed, at least for as long as your loved one is ill.
- If a problem develops, be prepared to stop everything, ignore a deadline or be late for something.
- Seek help in dealing with stress. Speak to family and friends, use carers’ discussion boards on websites such as www.carersuk.org and speak to your GP and other health professionals. There are also many CPFT services listed opposite and overleaf that provide wellbeing and psychological support for carers.
- Discuss situations with other carers for helpful feedback and support.
- Know how to call for help in an emergency. In dangerous/violent situations, be prepared to phone the police.
Finding the right support for yourself
Below are some examples of the types of activities and therapies that may be of benefit to carers. Information about support groups can be found on condition specific websites as well as those specifically supporting carers such as Rethink Mental Illness and Caring Together.
There are proven links to the effects that exercise can have on your mental wellbeing. This can include sports, the gym or simply walking regularly.
Alternative and complementary therapies
Yoga and massage therapy, for example, help you to relax and give a sense of general wellbeing. Other benefits may include reduced stress, improved circulation and deeper sleep.
Remember you are not alone and that it can be reassuring to meet and talk to other carers and discover that your feelings are similar to others in your situation. The charity MIND in Cambridgeshire runs “I matter too” courses especially for carers. For more information visit www.cpslmind.org.uk and select the link ‘Training and Workshops’ or telephone 01223 311320
Counselling/Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Talking therapies enable you to express your feelings, gain a greater level of understanding and self-awareness, and empower you to find solutions to your problems and strategies for coping. See overleaf for more information on how to access talking therapies.
CPFT Heart and Soul
Recognising a person’s spiritual dimension is one of the most vital aspects of care and recovery from serious illness and this applies to people of all faiths and to those of none. For more information on Heart and Soul (run by our chaplaincy services), please telephone 01223 218598.
Recovery College East
Courses are available for both carers and service users. For more information, visit www.cpft.nhs.uk/recovery-college-east or e-mail email@example.com or call 01223 884431.
Psychological Wellbeing Service
The Psychological Wellbeing Service (PWS): https://www.cpft.nhs.uk/psychological-wellbeing-service is part of the NHS initiative ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) which is designed to make psychological or talking therapies more accessible to people experiencing common mental health conditions. PWS is provided by CPFT to help people aged 17 and over who are suffering from mild to moderate mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress, health anxiety, panic, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder. All of the talking therapies offered as part of our Psychological Wellbeing Service work by helping you understand what is happening to you, help you to work through your difficult feelings and learn new ways of coping in order to improve your wellbeing.
What support does it offer?
It offers a range of support to help you make changes in your life to improve your wellbeing and to help you cope with stress, anxiety and depression. This includes self-help reading materials, guided self-help (both over the telephone and face-to-face), one-to-one therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and courses for groups including mindfulness. We have teams throughout the county made up of people with different skills who offer a range of ways to help. Carers can self-refer or speak to their GP for a referral. Appointments are offered throughout the day from Monday to Friday.
How to access PWS
To self-refer: Telephone 0300 300 0055 or fill in the self-referral form online at: https://www.iaptportal.co.uk/ServiceUser/SelfReferralForm.aspx
You can submit the form online or email to: selfreferIAPT@cpft.nhs.uk