The FREE Health Checks are carried out by NHS staff at our office in North Harrow every Saturday and designed to detect the early signs of diabetes, hypertension and heart related age and provide advice re moving to a healthier lifestyle.
- Harrow has a higher than England prevalence rate of Diabetes.
- In 2020/21 there were 22,367 people, aged 17 years or older, who had been diagnosed with diabetes and included on GP registers in NHS Harrow CCG. This equals 10.0% of the population. However, the total prevalence of people with diabetes, diagnosed and undiagnosed, is estimated to be 10.5%.
- People with diabetes are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. In Harrow, people with diabetes were 100.5% more likely than people without diabetes to have a heart attack. This was higher than the figure for England which was 86.9%.
- The additional risk of mortality for people with diabetes is higher in Harrow than in England.
To book your FREE NHS health check call Harrow Carers: 020 8868 5224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – Harrow Carers Office, 376-378 Pinner Road, North Harrow HA2 6DZ
Have you ever paused and wondered how much time you spend taking care of yourself? The Mental Health Foundation revealed that 71% of carers experience poor physical or mental health. While it’s a huge responsibility to look after your loved one’s well-being, it’s also important that you give equal importance to your own mental and physical health.
You can support yourself, as well as the person you look after, through mindfulness practices. This will encourage you to improve your mental health and well-being by managing your thoughts, emotions, and body. Here are some steps that can help you to feel calmer, more grounded, and more able to manage stress and emotional difficulty.
Practise Deep Breathing
Pause and relax by taking slow, deep breaths. BBC points out that quick, shallow, and unfocused breathing can foster anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. But when you’re aware of your own breathing, you’ll induce a relaxing sensation both in the brain and the body.
Whenever you feel stressed or tense, you can calm yourself down by focusing on your breath. Start by inhaling slowly through your nose until you can feel your chest and your belly rising. Afterwards, take your time as you exhale the air through your mouth. Repeat this short and simple process until you’re good to go!
Make Yourself Comfortable While Caring for Others
You are on your feet most of the day to carry out tasks and properly cater to your loved one. You also need to exert a lot of physical strength to assist an elderly parent or push a wheelchair. It’s no surprise that after a long hard day, carers like you feel a lot of aches and pains all over your bodies.
With the right tools, you can relieve pain and feel comfortable while caring for others. For instance, you can rest on an ergonomic chair while guarding a resting loved one or feeding them during mealtime. According to Pain Free Working, these chairs can reduce physical pain and lessen the risk of getting injured, since you will need to be in good shape to care for others. Furthermore, a good pair of shoes can provide you support while you’re working on your feet. There are lots of trainers that are designed for comfort, such as this one from Nike. Products like these will soothe your body and prevent pain while you’re looking after others, at the same time!
Focus on One Task at a Time
Carers handle a huge responsibility, and this may make you feel overwhelmed and stressed with your tasks. You may feel inclined to multi-task so you can finish everything quickly. But a distracted and rushed mind will only diminish the quality of the support you can potentially give.
You can gain better control over your tasks by being mindful of your actions. To achieve this, you need to give your full attention to one task at a time! You can also create a schedule so that you can properly allocate your time to each activity.
Dedicate Time for Self-Care
You may feel inclined to focus all of your energy on others and forget to allocate time for the things you enjoy. Though caring is rewarding, we at Harrow Carers believe that you will feel most fulfilled when you have also taken enough time to care for yourself.
Self-care can be anything from taking a long, relaxing bath at night or getting a massage. It can also be just taking a few minutes of your day to read a book or knit! Just simply make time for at least one thing that brings you joy.
The practice of mindfulness teaches people to manage their stress by focusing on what they can sense and control in the present moment. Through these four practices, you can give yourself the love and support that you deserve.
Specially written for harrowcarers.org by Bridget Jennings
Caring can be a rewarding experience, but it can also take a mental and physical toll. To continue providing care to their loved ones, it’s vital that carers stays healthy. But when you’re looking after someone else, it’s easy to forget your own health needs. Sure, there may be times where it’s difficult to think about anything else, and sometimes carers may feel they aren’t doing enough. But you are human too. It’s important to think about your own health and well-being .
Being healthy is not only vital for you, but it is also beneficial to the person you care for. If you have a good sleep schedule, you will have more patience and energy. If you have access to more financial or emotional support, you will be in a better position to support the people you are looking after.
Here are five tips to help improve your health and well-being, especially if your caring responsibilities are physically and emotionally draining you out.
Making Time for Regular Exercise
It can be difficult to find the time when you have caring responsibilities. You may be worn out, but taking some time out to exercise can be beneficial to your physical and mental health. Think about a good time to fit this in, and give your own needs the same importance as others.
A simple stroll in the park can help declutter your mind and keep your joints healthy. Consider joining a virtual exercise class if you prefer to exercise with others. The NHS have a great resource about fitness, tutorials and exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. Consider doing exercises with the person you support, if appropriate.
Having a Healthy Diet
It can be difficult to maintain your caring responsibilities if you don’t have the right nutrition to fuel your day. It can be easy to forget while caring, and it’s much easier to snack on processed foods when you feel there isn’t enough time. Try and eat a varied diet of fruits and vegetables, as well as having healthy protein in each meal. Try not to let stress or boredom lead to over-indulging on snacks.
Here are a few healthy-eating tips to try:
– Having a healthy breakfast each day. It’s a great way to start the day with some fibre, and it will help you stay away on unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
– Adding more fruits and vegetables. The NHS guideline recommends at least 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
– Staying hydrated. Water regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints and gives you energy throughout the day. Most adults need around 2 to 2.5 litres of fluid a day.
Receiving additional support
It’s perfectly fine in asking for help when you need it. If you’ve sustained physical injuries from lifting the person you cared for, consider asking your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist. You may also be entitled to additional benefits as a carer that you may not be aware of. Give us a call at 020 8868 5224 if you’re unsure, as you may be missing out on financial support.
You don’t need to feel guilty about accepting help. Remember that there is only so much you can do – try to accept that sometimes you may need help.
Taking Care of Yourself
Although caring is rewarding, it’s often extremely exhausting and can leave you with little time to yourself. It’s important you still make time for any interests and the things you love to do. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day – taking the time to care for yourself can go a long way. You are human too, after all. It could be reading a book, taking a hot bath, doing some gardening – whatever you fancy.
Staying connected with others
Keeping in contact with your friends and family can be a great way to let off steam. You can talk about your emotions and what you’re going through. If you don’t feel like talking, you could try reading books together, attending a pottery class, or playing games online.
You can also attend our group workshops at Harrow Carers. Our workshops provide an opportunity to meet other carers and share experiences. Remember that you aren’t alone and we’re here to help. Finding others in similar situations can be extremely rewarding and can help you both physically and emotionally. They’re likely to have gone through the same experiences as you – it’s a chance to let off steam, share frustrations or seek some advice.
Being an effective carer is difficult if you ignore your own health, as you may lose the ability to cope over time. Life is really challenging right now, but we’re always here to help. If you are a carer and require extra support, feel free to call us at 020 8868 5224.
Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund. Contact Working for Carers on 020 8868 5224 Ext 218/208.
Another lockdown right at the end of 2020 was a fitting yet disappointing end to the year. At least this New Year we will not have to feel the pressure of going to the gym in the name of “New Year, new me”. This does not mean you are off the hook!
Staying fit during lockdown is very important, especially if you are a carer. We know your caring role can be 24/7 but it is important to try to take a break from time to time to take care of yourself. If you think you dont have time, that is fine because you can do other things to maintain your health. Have a read below of the different ways you can take care of yourself:
- Avoid excess: It is very easy to form unhealthy eating habits as a form of coping. In the short term, it feels great. In the long term, not so much. To help with this, try eating smaller meals more frequently during the day and drink a lot of water to fill yourself up. This will help reduce the amount of cravings you have in a day.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water throughout the day helps your body function properly. A lot of experts suggest drinking six to eight glasses.
- Maintain relationships: Being away from those who you love is a daunting experience. Unfortunately, we are still in a pandemic and the lockdown restrictions have just gotten tighter. The best thing we can do is to call the people that we love frequently to remind them that they are not alone and they are loved.
- Spend some time in nature: If you can go outside, then try to go on a walk or run with a lot of trees, grass and general green spaces. This should help you reconnect with the outside world. If you can’t go outside, simply try to observe nature from your house. Examples of this could be listening to birds, smelling your garden flowers or cutting your grass.
- Eat well: You are what you eat! Make sure you eat consistently healthy foods. One way to improve how you eat is by starting to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables everyday.
- Remember to laugh and grow: Laughter is the cure to everything. Try to not focus on the misery that the pandemic has caused rather the opportunities of growth available. And when in doubt put on your favourite sitcom and laugh!
If you are struggling with you health, physical or mental, please don’t hesitate to contact us or our peers below: