Self-care for parents and carers

As an adoptive parent, foster carer or kinship carer, you matter. You matter so much.

Whilst they may not always be able to show it, or even show it at all, you are probably the most important person in your child's life. You are giving them the care, compassion, consistency and commitment that each vulnerable child so desperately needs. And you can only do this if you are also able to look after yourself.

It is not surprising that so many parents and carers struggle to do this in the midst of their busy lives as they constantly prioritise their child's needs, and we realise that it is not an easy thing to take time for yourself when there are so many other demands on your time.

But wherever possible, seek to be aware of your own wellbeing, and do whatever you can to look after yourself.

Here are ten suggestions for small things that might make a big difference.

  1. Eat well - and regularly. We all know how hard it is to keep going and remain calm when we're hungry.
  2. Develop good routines. These will benefit your children, but will also help you feel calmer.
  3. Get some fresh air. It will energise and refresh you.
  4. Take fifteen minutes to do something you love. Read a book, make and drink a nice coffee, make something - whatever it is, do it just because you enjoy it.
  5. Pace yourself. Don't set impossible targets, give yourself some grace.
  6. Phone a friend. Someone who knows you and loves you and will offer the encouragement you need to hear.
  7. Don't make comparisons. You and your children are unique and precious just as you are.
  8. Take time to rest. More on this in this great article.
  9. Laugh. Even when things are decidedly not funny, find some light relief by watching a clip of your favourite comedian or outtakes from your favourite TV show.
  10. Say to yourself whatever you would say to others. Imagine someone you cared about said they were feeling exactly how you are - what would you say to them? Now take that advice for yourself.

We know these small things are not going to change any of the huge things you are currently facing, but we hope they encourage you to look after yourself in the midst of the huge things.

Whatever your current circumstance, if you would like someone to talk and pray with, call our team on 0300 001 0995. We are always happy to listen and will signpost you to further support where we can.

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