Time to Talk Day 2022 is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness in England, in partnership with Co-op. The campaign runs UK wide, with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and See Me in Scotland, Inspire and Change Your Mind in Northern Ireland and Time to Change Wales.
The day is all about creating supportive communities by having conversations with family, friends, or colleagues about mental health. We all have mental health, by talking about it we can support ourselves and others.
This year we aim to support communities up and down the country to have more mental health conversations than ever before.
We know that conversations about mental health have the power to change lives. Our recent research shows how important open conversations in communities are to support everyone’s mental wellbeing.
Co-op are raising £8m for Mind, SAMH and Inspire to bring communities together to improve mental wellbeing. Along with delivering Time to Talk Day 2022, these vital funds are providing new services in over 50 local communities across the UK to support people’s mental wellbeing.
Time to Talk Day was launched in 2014 by Time to Change, a campaign to end mental health stigma and discrimination, which was run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
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.
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.
– 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.
It’s natural for us to feel lonely, even more so during the pandemic. Having underlying health problems, additional caring responsibilities, or in the case of the pandemic, being physically isolated from others can all contribute. These are just some examples. There might not be a particular reason why you feel lonely and you don’t need to go looking for one. From all ages, people feel lonely for all sorts of reasons and find different ways to overcome it. Here are a few strategies that may help to combat loneliness.
Volunteering for a cause you believe in can make a real positive impact in your community. It can fight loneliness by increasing self-esteem, create meaningful experiences and allow you to meet people passionate about the same things as you. Additionally, helping those less fortunate than you can bring you a greater sense of gratitude for what you have in your life.
You can volunteer remotely or in real life, just be sure you’re working with others. Finding solutions together as a team can help you decrease loneliness.
Join a club
Whether it’s a book club, a workout session or a cooking class, joining groups based on your interests exposes you to new people and connections. Sure, it can be nerve-wracking to join a club for the first time, but you’re likely to find people who are welcoming and willing to help settle you in. Have a look through your local library to see what’s available, or explore virtual networking sites like Meetup.
Taking Care of Yourself
Maintaining good physical and mental health is more important than ever, especially when experiencing feelings of loneliness. Have a consistent sleep schedule and exercise regularly – the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. Take regular walks in your local neighbourhood as an opportunity to slow down and reflect – use this time to also practice self-compassion. Try talking to yourself in a forgiving, kind and caring way; it’ll do wonders for your long-term mental health.
Learn a New Skill
Loneliness is usually something that is temporary, something all of us naturally experience when going through phases in life. Taking up a new hobby may help to distract yourself from those feelings of loneliness. Perhaps you want to learn a new language, or learn how to design websites. Whatever it may be, take some time to invest in yourself. Check out this website if you’re unsure of which skills to pursue.
Strengthen Existing Relationships
Humans have always been social creatures. Spending quality time with your friends and family is one of the best ways to reduce loneliness. Why not call up a loved one and tell them how great they are and how much you love their company. Be specific, mention what it is you love about them – it’ll make their day (and yours too!).
If you haven’t spoken to your loved ones in a long time, you might be struggling with motivation to reach out. Instead, it may be helpful to start slowly. Think of one friend or family who you could imagine reaching out to and give them a call. It’s so important that you make the first move.
At some point in our lives, we will feel lonely and it can be difficult to cope with. But there are things we can do to feel better, from volunteering and learning new skills to improving our connections with loved ones.
There’s also people who can help. Here are some amazing organisations and support groups that can offer expert advice if you’re suffering from loneliness or any other issues. If you’re a carer suffering from any mental health issues, we can offer you free advice and support at 020 8868 5224.
In a nutshell, dementia is the decline in memory, language, problem solving and other thinking skills. The disease is still misunderstood and most urgently, people don’t understand the level of empathy needed when caring for dementia patients. I’m going to change that today.
I have worked as a carer on and off for 10 years. My empathy is always tested when caring for dementia patients. Dementia is a frustrating experience for the person undergoing it. At the same time it can be very frustrating for those caring for them. Patients lose mental and emotional control which manifests itself in tendencies to fight, make insensitive statements and cause harm to people. Caring gets difficult. Sometimes I have moments where I want to pack up everything and leave. The only thing stopping me is my duty to the person. I do it because I love helping others the same way I would want someone to help me. You need to be altruistic in this line of work.
For example, Liam was one of the patients I have worked with in the past. He was an 82 year old man who was in his early stages of dementia. One time, he told me that black people shouldn’t eat Chinese food and they should keep on eating fried chicken. Another time he told me that women are only good at cooking and cleaning the house. Was he this disconnected and insensitive before? I assume not. Furthermore, Jessica is the current patient I’m working with now and she too says a lot of insensitive statements. For instance, a couple of weeks ago she told me that all non-white UK citizens need to leave the country and never come back. You can imagine how irritating that statement was for me being a person of color. Last night she said Jewish people only care about money and they are greedy individuals. She used a more derogatory term, but you get the point. Once again, was she like this before? I assume not. The picture I’m trying to paint here is that working with dementia patients requires a lot of empathy. If you cannot be empathetic to the point you can tolerate such insensitive statements, then you shouldn’t spend too much time around them for both your sakes.
As a rule to myself, I have to shut down all defensiveness and interact as I would with a child. That means smiling, nodding, being agreeable and avoiding conversations that need great thought. If I don’t do this, all hell will break loose. Both of us will end the conversation feeling embarrassed with a great deal of guilt. And yes, they still remember how you made them feel even though they might not remember the thought itself.
I can’t get the thought out of my mind that one day this might happen to me. It can happen to any one of us. Your personality will change, which is saddening given you have worked all your life to perfect an image of yourself only for it to be completely broken down and you can’t do anything about it but watch. We all must face this fear. Fortunately, this is where the work I do becomes important. I try my best to not make them feel as if things are different, I try to make them feel normal.
Being diagnosed should never put someone in a box or corner where life is nothing more than stagnant. Dementia patients should be able to move forward knowing they can still enjoy their life and experience new things.
The way I see it, give the same level of empathy you would want to receive if you ever get diagnosed.