Category Archives: Health & Wellbeing

Coping with caring over christmas

Christmas can be a stressful time especially for carers.

Christmas is a stressful time for many people. It’s meant to be a time for family, festivities and fun, but when you’re a carer it can be an incredibly challenging time having to look after someone while dealing with the  extra pressures of the holiday season. 

So we’ve asked carers to share their tips and advice on how they cope with caring over Christmas.

Don’t let the holidays get you down, reach out to others for help .

Helen shared her secret of how she keeps herself and her young son happy in the build-up to the holidays. “Sometimes it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit. So I look and see what charity events are taking place, and try to support as many as I can.  

“There’s lots going on, particularly at this time of year.“ She also added that giving to a charitable cause helped her feel ‘Christmasy.’ 

It’s not only carers that can be overwhelmed by the festivities, but the cared-for can find it distressing. 

“My brother is used to a routine, so the holiday can be unsettling for him,“  said Teresa, who cares for her brother with learning difficulties.  “So I always talk him through what’s going to be happening on the day. I have to plan ahead to let him know what’s in store as well as being very organised.”

Sometimes it’s hard to maintain focus during the Christmas chaos, so advanced planning is crucial. Make sure you’ve got all the medication you need to see you through to the New Year, and get the emergency contact details for Social Services , your GP and the hospital. Also find out opening and closing times so you know when they are available.

Alison, who is the daughter of a carer, said: “We have a large family, and my mother has always prepared the meal on Christmas Day. However last year, it was evident the stress of looking after Dad, and trying to cater for all of us was too much. So this year we’ve decided to share the load and everyone  is pitching in and bringing a dish to share. 

“We had to suggest it, as she is very proud and wouldn’t ask for help.”

As a carer it’s important to look after yourself first, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. ’Tis the season of giving and goodwill so don’t hesitate  to contact friends and family when you are in need of assistance or if you just  need to talk. 

We would love for more carers to share their stories on how they cope over the holidays, so please share your stories with us and leave a comment.

Getting (Ki)Activ

By Leanna Wall

It is not news that having a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of us getting ill or contracting heart problems or diseases such as type II diabetes. Personally though, I have always struggled with exercise since leaving school and not having to do it as part of a P.E lesson. When it comes to fitness, I need support from others. If I don’t have someone who wants to get fit with me, it isn’t a priority I try to fit in.

Cue KiActiv…

KiActiv was introduced to me when I joined the Carers’ Centre. It is a 12 week programme designed to get individuals increasing their physical activity levels. It combines motivation via a trained mentor and digital technology, using an activity tracker (like a Fitbit) and an accessible online profile which is easy to understand. It’s much more than just counting steps, focusing on all the things that contribute to physical activity and therefore, a healthy lifestyle.

Continue reading Getting (Ki)Activ

take time for yourself

Carers discount on reflexology treatment

Many carers struggle with putting themselves first. They run around taking care of everybody else — ignoring their own needs.

Having a bit of me-time is vital and the healthiest thing you can do as a carer is to stop and consider what measures you can take to care for yourself.

Carer and holistic therapist Anne-Marie Rose, owner of Rose Holistic Treatments, knows the importance of taking time out and is offering a special discounted rate of £25 ffor reflexology for carer card holders. Haven’t got a carer card? Enquire here! 

We popped into her business, located on Avondale Road, Bath, to learn more.

Tell us more about your business! What do you do and where are you based?

“I offer wonderfully relaxing massage and reflexology sessions to support women and carers in Bath. The business was set up with the aim of supporting carers by offering low-cost reflexology treatments and the business took off from there. In the three years since I started my business I have been shortlisted for a variety of awards for all my hard work supporting carers and local charities. Rose Holistic Treatments is based in Newbridge, just a 5-10 minute walk from the Bath Carers’ Centre.”

Continue reading take time for yourself

Warm welcome at carer cafe

by Carmen Cooper

‘I nearly didn’t come here today as I had a bit of a wobble,” said Helen, who was making her first visit to the Carer Café at Mardons Social Club in Midsomer Norton.

I knew exactly how she felt, as it was only four weeks ago that I walked into  the Bath Carers’ Centre office to take on my new job as Wellbeing Administrator, and today I was leaving the familiarity of the office and making my first outing to meet and chat with carers.

So when Helen announced to the café co-ordinator that she was a newcomer, I thought: “Great! There’s someone like me.  We newbies should stick together!”

Continue reading Warm welcome at carer cafe

Here’s how you can get 50% off Yoga Classes here in Bath

Hopefully, you’ve heard that the Carers’ Centre offers a free discount card to all carers living in BaNES and registered with us. If you haven’t heard, now you have!

We sat down with one of our fabulous local businesses that partnered with us in the card scheme, Universal Yoga. Based out of Dunkerton, between Radstock and Bath, this yoga studio offers small classes for any ability. AND with your carer card, you can get 50% off.  Haven’t got a carer card? Enquire here! 

We talked to Kat from Universal Yoga to find out more about who they are.

Tell us more about your business! What do you do & where are you based?

We are based in Dunkerton, Bath and offer yoga classes to all abilities on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6.30—8pm on both of those nights. We also offer one to one sessions for clients with specific needs. Continue reading Here’s how you can get 50% off Yoga Classes here in Bath

Fundraiser Stories: Bath & the Half give mental health boost to young runner

RUH Administrator Jess Sowton, 25, is running the Bath Half this year in aid of the Carers’ Centre. This is Jess’s second half marathon and she hopes to get close to a two hour run this time around. There’s still time to join Team Carers in this year’s Bath Half — sign up here!

Originally from Hampshire, Jess moved to Bath last year after struggling with her mental health and deciding to step out of her comfort zone.

“I realised that I wasn’t happy with where I was in life — I didn’t really know what I wanted from the future, my mental health was suffering, and I knew I wasn’t challenging myself and felt unsatisfied with everything,” says Jess.

Recent research (the Guardian) shows that more than one in four women aged 16-24 now report symptoms of common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety – a rise from 21% when the study was last carried out in 2007.

Jess felt an improvement in herself after the move.

“I moved out of my flat, left my job, and moved to a new city — enter Bath! I got myself a job and things just fell into place. It was a challenge in terms of pushing myself into so many new environments.

“I am lucky to have family and friends to support me, but by making myself face the fact that I needed to change my situation has made me so much more confident. I want to keep challenging myself to seek the best that I can get out of life.”

As well as uprooting her life, Jess found that exercise really helped her lift her mood and feel fitter and healthier.

Continue reading Fundraiser Stories: Bath & the Half give mental health boost to young runner

Every Drop Counts: An Introduction to Wellbeing for Carers

By Grace Moorton
Carers Support Officer

What is wellbeing?

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
feel good?”

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.

Why You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine This Winter

As a carer for someone else, it can be easy to overlook your own health.  Flu can knock even the healthiest people off their feet for a couple of weeks, making it impossible for a carer to look after the person in their care. This is why the NHS offers a free flu vaccination for those either in receipt of a carer’s allowance and/or look after someone who is elderly, disabled, or somebody who lives with a serious long term condition who couldn’t manage without their help.

It’s not just about protecting you as a carer from getting flu, but also preventing you from passing the virus onto the vulnerable person you care for.

Flu is a highly infectious disease which is easily spread from one person to another. Getting flu when you already have a long-term condition can lead to serious complications, and it can even be a killer.

For those who already have a long term health condition, are pregnant or are over 65, it can be even more dangerous as your body will struggle more to fight off the illness and you are more at risk of complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Children are also more at risk.

There are a lot of myths about flu that have circulated over the years. Many people worry that the vaccine can give you the flu. Please be assured that this isn’t possible as there is no live influenza virus in the vaccine.

Continue reading Why You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine This Winter

2 Ways to Improve Your Wellbeing this Autumn

by Lindsey Clay 

Update 18th September 2018: 

Due to demand we will now be offering an evening yoga and mindfulness 6 week  course, venues and dates the same but with a 6.00pm—7.30 pm time slot.

We are coming to the end of our lovely sunny weather and heading into the beautiful and colourful autumn season. Changes may be happening in our own lives, be it children going back to school, changes in jobs or changes in our own health and wellbeing or that of those we love.

Here at the Carer’s Centre we are always working to help improve the wellbeing of carers within our community through our services. Read on to find out what we’ve got going on…

1. Try our new course of gentle yoga and relaxation

A new 6 week  gentle yoga course on Monday afternoons 1:30pm to 3pm is starting on the 8th October at our Centre in Bath. This is a trial project, so depending on interest from carers we may be able to offer this in other locations around BaNES.

Yoga mats provided (which you can then take home at the end of the course if you wish to help you continue your practice at home).

The course will be lead by Jules Allen who has written a little note about herself below.

I am a Yoga, Relaxation and Mindfulness Teacher, and I work with various organisations across Bath and Bristol. I specialise in teaching yoga, relaxation and mindfulness to people who may be beginners, people who may have health and mobility issues as well as people who have regular wellbeing practices.

Take time to rest and a moment to breathe, stretch & move, meet new people and make new friends as well as everyday ideas, tools and tips for bringing more well-being into their lives.

Having been a young carer, an adult carer and also living with Rheumatoid Arthritis I practice various yoga and relaxation exercises every day and really have valued the overall effect that yoga, relaxation and mindfulness has had for me and with the people I have worked with.

Continue reading 2 Ways to Improve Your Wellbeing this Autumn