This year, with Covid-19 restrictions, it has been a stressful time on top of the normal stressors you may be dealing with while caring for someone. Being stressed can stop us enjoying things or being able to see a way forward. Often stress comes down to feeling uncertainty around what will happen and feeling you don’t have control over things.

Stress can also increase when we feel disconnected from people, this has been highlighted by the pandemic but may be something you find hard when you caring responsibilities means you can often spend less time with others.

This blog will take each of these three things that can add to our stress: disconnection, loss of control and uncertainty and look at how can help you make things feel more manageable.

Disconnection

  • Phone calls – Make sure you keep to regular phone calls with family and friends. It can be hard not seeing people, but you can still keep in contact.

If you want someone to talk to each week our Here to talk befriending service, offers phone calls with one of our friendly volunteers.

  • Support Groups – Support groups can be a chance to speak to people who might be experiencing things similar to you. They provide a safe space to share what’s on your mind.

You can look at the what’s on page on our website to find out about what support groups are available for carers including our own Virtual Cuppas.

  • Socially distanced walks – As some restrictions start to ease, take the opportunity to meet up with others. Even if it’s local, or walking from your house. Be honest with others about what will make it easier for you to meet up so you ensure you’re still getting out and seeing people.
  • Podcasts and Music– Sometimes being at home can get a bit much. Podcasts or music can help, they give you a chance to hear other voices, to fill silences, and make you feel uplifted or remind us of times gone by. BBC sounds have a great selection of music and podcasts.
  • Support lines – If you’re not sure who to talk to, support lines can offer you the chance to talk to someone about whatever is happening for you right now. These are with trained staff and volunteers.
    • Phone Samaritans on 116 123
    • Text Shout on 85258
    • Phone Dorset Healthcare’s Connection on 0800 652 0190 or by phoning 111
    • Phone SilverLine on 0800 4 70 80 90- the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Uncertainty

  • Emergency plans – it can help to plan for when things might happen to us. This can give us a sense of control, even when things come up by surprise. It can be invaluable to have this in place.

You can read our resource page on how to make a plan for an emergency on our website.

  • Making a schedule – Making a schedule or lists can help organise your thoughts and make certain that you prioritise. It can be useful way to keeping to things you want to do for yourself as well, so schedule in time to do something you enjoy or phone a friend or relative.
  • Go outside – When we are in the same places, hearing the same news a lot it can become stressful and can make you feel trapped. Go outside and feel the fresh air, the sun on your skin and simply change your view. This can make all the difference to your outlook.
  • Reduce the amount of news you watch, and limit it to specific times, such as once a day, so you’re not checking in on the news throughout the day.

Loss of control

  • Journal – You might not feel you want to, but writing out what is happening or things that are on your mind can help you gain some control over them.

You can check out Mood Panda’s app, if you want some ideas of how to start a mood diary.

  • Expression – Express your fears, this might be through talking to someone, drawing something, taking photos, listening to or making music. The important thing is make sure you’re expressing the things that are stressing you.

You can see the selection of Share and Learn sessions that Carers UK are hosting on their website, to find new ways to express yourself.

  • Mindfulness – stress over loss of control often happens when we start thinking about the future and not the here and now. Mindfulness can be a useful tool to bring your back to the present moment.

You can read more about mindfulness on our blog and check out some free mindful meditations on the Smiling Mind app and website.

Need more support?

If you want more help finding support, or finding life stressful as a carer you can call us at Carer Support Dorset for information, advice, support or just a friendly voice at the end of the phone on 0800 368 8349, (Monday – Thursday 9.30am-4.30pm, Friday 9.30am-4pm) or email us admin@carersupportdorset.co.uk.