It’s easy to get so caught up in our caring role that it can be hard to find energy to maintain our important relationships. That’s why having regular breaks is crucial.
Plan your break away
Make sure your respite plan includes time alone with your significant other. When you do get time together, put a limit on how much of that time you spend talking about what’s going on at home. Choose an activity, place, or event you both enjoy and can look forward to.
Spend time with positive people
Make time for people whose company you enjoy – who make you laugh, who listen, who appreciate how special you are. You give so much of your positive energy to your caring role. Spend as much as time as you can with people who feed that positive energy and help you recharge.
Learn to say yes
Grab offers of help whenever you can. Make sure you ‘tag team’ if you share your caring role with your partner or other adults in your household, so everyone gets the breaks they need. Sit down and work out a roster for regular time out.
Learn to say no
Your days may be overloaded or you may not be sure what will happen in your household from day to day. Think twice before taking on extra commitments: will you enjoy and take pleasure from what you’re being asked to do? Do you have the time or energy to fulfil the request? Or will it add extra stress? If you have agreed to do something and find things change for you (arrangements fall apart, or you don’t feel up to following through) put yourself first and cancel. Others will surely understand.
- Find ways to stay in touchFor a whole range of reasons, it’s easy to become isolated from your wider circle of family and friends. Embrace technology – especially if you find you’re too busy to visit, phone, or email. There are lots of new ways to communicate quickly and easily. Remember other people’s special occasions and events. A text says they’re in your thoughts as much as a card and it’s quicker and cheaper. Facebook is a great way to stay connected, even if you mainly just read posts from friends and family. If you have a smartphone, you can Skype or FaceTime someone and chat while you peel the spuds. If you’re not sure what these things are or how they work, grab your nearest teenager. They know all this stuff! Or you could join SeniorNet, which provides technology learning and social opportunities for older people in many communities.
Caring Family Relationships
How can we best nurture family relationships while caring for a family member? Read and listen to these stories about carers who do exactly that.
Middle Age Spread
Advice from Relationships Aotearoa for those caring for a growing family and ageing parents.
Relationship Challenges for Carers
Relationships Aotearoa’s Jayne O’Neill talks about the challenges carers can face in their relationships.
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