Looking after yourself is vital!
To ensure that you can carry on supporting your child during a time of difficulty, it is vital to ensure that you look after your own mental and physical wellbeing. This will help ensure you have enough mental and physical energy, and stamina, to manage the challenges that you and your family may encounter.
Key actions in self-care:
- Understand what is happening: talk to your GP and other professionals involved in your child’s care
- Keep your needs in mind: don’t forget about yourself
- Maintain a balance: ensure that you engage in other areas of your life e.g. social life, leisure time
- Know what helps for you; everyone is different, find activities that are stress-busting for you
- Take care of your own health: eat well, sleep well, exercise, link in with your own GP
Mind your assets:
Ensure that your assets (the things that, when kept in line, help you to manage daily stresses) are protected so as to not add further pressure to you:
- Physical assets e.g. health, energy, stamina
- Social assets e.g. social networks, support systems
- Psychological assets e.g. beliefs and values, problem solving skills and self-worth
- Material assets e.g. finances, equipment, tools etc.
Use your supports
- Family and friends
- Other professionals
- Support services e.g. Aware's Relative & Friends Programme, Jigsaw
Recommendations for parents caring for a child with depression. Looking after yourself in times of stress:
- Understand what is happening
- Pace yourself
- Value and appreciate what you are doing
- Have realistic goals, don't be too critical of yourself
- Talk it out with your supports, share how you are feeling. Ask for assistance and accept offers of help
- Set limits - you have rights and feelings too
- Identify your coping techniques
- Take a break, do something for yourself, relax. Mind yourself: diet, sleep, physical activity
- Do at least one activity every day that you enjoy and that you feel you are good at
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF – YOU ARE IMPORTANT!
Aware offers support services for adults aged 18 and over, including adults who may be supporting a child with a mood related condition and are looking for understanding, information or signposting. Aware also provides a range of education services to include positive mental health programmes which are delivered to adults and senior cycle students at secondary schools nationwide.
For further information about the mental health of a young person go to www.jigsaw.ie.