By Grace Moorton
Carers Support Officer
Wellbeing relates to how we feel in ourselves and it is different for everyone. If we feel satisfied that our lives are going well, we have a sense of purpose, feel in control, and are happy with our health (both physical and mental); then we might say we have a good level of wellbeing.
Keeping a high level of wellbeing can be hard when we are caring because of all the extra challenges thrown our way. Imagine a glass being filled with water. The water represents all the stressful things that can negatively affect our wellbeing, like finances or work.
As a carer, our glass may already be very full and it only takes one small drop of water for it to overflow. If our glass overflows then we may feel unable to cope and this can negatively affect our physical and mental health.
Small steps can make a big difference
We cannot always control the daily hassles that we face, but we can control things that may help to improve our wellbeing. Just as one more drop in our glass can cause it to overflow, one small action could help to keep things under control: making the difference between coping and not coping.
If you are looking for ideas, there has been recent research into actions we can take, such as the “The Five Ways to Wellbeing” (New
Economics Foundation). This suggests five key steps to improve our wellbeing with examples for each. Click the link for more information.
The first step
No one has more expertise in ways to improve our wellbeing than ourselves. We know what we like and what we don’t like, what works for us and what doesn’t. We can start with a very small
step: by simply asking ourselves “what makes me
For example, you could –
• Enjoy a nice cup of tea
• Listen to your favourite piece of music
• Go outside for five minutes of fresh air
Making a list of all these things is a great way to remind ourselves of the small steps we can take to improve our wellbeing, and to ensure that we make time for this.
Of course, there may be times when we feel we cannot cope and our glass seems to overflow whatever we do. It is at these times that we might need to ask for extra help, and this is OK. In fact, asking for help is a great step in itself when looking after our own wellbeing.
Whether we are making small steps or big steps, we can take control of our own wellbeing, and every drop counts.