New Year, New You?

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Happy New Year!

New year, new me, isn’t that what we say?  We all make our New Year’s Resolutions, eat healthier, drink less, take more exercise!

Most carers I know don’t put their needs first, or even second!  Most of our parents won’t think about how their caring role impacts on them and their own needs.  It can be difficult, but you need to think about yourself as well as your child.   If your health begins to suffer, caring will become more difficult.

Knowing you’re not alone

It’s easy to become isolated when you have a child with additional needs or disability. You might be too busy to keep up with friends and family. People might visit you less often and invites to play dates might not be as frequent. Loneliness can be one of the worst side effects of being a carer. Sometimes just talking to someone who understands what you are going through can be a great relief. Sharing your experiences with someone in the same position as you.
It often helps to talk to people in the same situation. Here at Unique Ways we realise the power and value in peer support and hold regular coffee mornings and afternoon tea sessions to allow parents to meet new friends and share stories. These sessions are run by parent carers for parent carers. Feedback suggest that parents gain valuable advice and tips from other parents and feel ‘at home.’
Check our events page for dates of our next sessions or call the office on 01422 343090.

We all need sleep!

A recent Net-mums survey reported that 56% of parents revealed that their child wake once, twice, three times or more during one night, 35% said they are regularly sleep deprived and exhausted, 22% felt that a lack of sleep had a negative impact on their relationship with their partner.

These are shocking statistics but even more shocking is that it is believed these figures are even higher for families of children with additional needs or disability and often we are told that it is just one of those things and often associated with our child’s condition.  This isn’t always true and our sleep practitioner has worked with hundreds of families across Calderdale often with complex needs and has a fabulous success rate helping families to get more sleep.

When your child is well rested behaviour often improves and when you are well rested you often feel more able to cope.

Do not suffer in silence call Sunny on 01422 343090 to book an appointment at the sleep clinic, more information can be found here.

Taking breaks

You cannot care constantly without a break. Even though it’s often not easy to do, ask for help! Ask family and friends to help you have regular and frequent breaks. The sort of break you take will depend on what suits you, and the person you are caring for, as well as the services that are available in your area.

Breaks can be taken in your house, or away from it. They might be for 10 minutes, a few hours, a day, overnight or longer.  It might mean that you go to an exercise class, attend a wedding, catch up with friends or family, or go on holidays.  It can be a regular weekly event or something that happens only once a year.

Planning to look after yourself

Try to think about ways you can regularly make time for yourself, even it is just 10 minutes for a coffee. Don’t feel guilty about this time – it’s for you.  Planning ahead and pacing yourself will also help.  If possible, plan activities such as housework for times when you’re feeling you have the energy. Don’t rush, and remember to value yourself and all that you do.

Practising relaxation

There are many organisations across Calderdale that offer carers opportunities to take time out and practice meditation and relaxation methods, such as Healthy Minds.

Healthy Eating

You may find it hard to eat healthily when you are busy caring, or feel that you can’t eat healthy because your budget doesn’t stretch that far; but there are simple ways to improve the way you eat and this can help you stay well and have enough energy to undertake your caring role.
There is a lot of advice online. A good place to start is the Food and diet page on NHS Choices.

Recipes
There are lots of recipes and advice on websites and blogs. Here are a few to get you started:
BBC recipe collection
• Quick, cheap and easy recipes from GoodtoKnow.

Eating on a budget
It can be very difficult to eat well if you are trying to manage on a tight budget. There are ways to eat well for less, for example planning meals in advance, freezing food, buying seasonal fruit and veg, using cheaper cuts of meat, use supermarket own brands as a cheaper alternative to branded products and keep your eye out for good offers.

You may also find it helpful to do your grocery shopping online then you can keep a close eye on what you are spending without been tempted by all the offers in the supermarkets.

Keep on Moving

As well as eating healthy, it is important to exercise regularly; this doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym or running 10k every night. As a carer it can be difficult to get enough exercise, some suggestions may be that you always try to walk when possible, take the stairs instead of the escalators and maybe consider a video workout class if you are indoors a lot.
Calderdale Council offer Guided Walks on a regular basis, and these are also a good way of getting out and meeting people, and most walks are free.