Why should I focus on me?
What is self-care?
‘Self-care’ means looking after ourselves. Self-care means doing activities to increase our energy, look after our health and reduce stress. Self-care can also be about processing emotional reactions to life and doing things that we might find difficult, like asking for help.
Here are some things family and friends who support others have told us.
“Look after yourself and don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help; keep asking until you find the right people or the right place.” – Support person, Consultation 2019
“It is pretty constant. Even when I am not physically there, I am usually organising something or on the phone trying to get things done. It really doesn’t end in terms of hours. The only time I really have off is when I am asleep.” – Support person, Consultation 2019
If you are supporting someone who has attempted suicide, or supporting a paramedic experiencing mental health concerns or suicidal distress, learn lots of tips and strategies for self-care by accessing our free programs.
We can do many things in times of stress to help ensure we ‘bounce back’ from the challenge. We often can’t change our situation, but we can change our reactions and implement strategies to help us cope better.
To minimise stress, you can:
- Take regular breaks
- Set boundaries
- Find people you can talk to
- Speak with your employer to support your caregiving role
- Encourage the person you’re supporting to speak to their employer if necessary
- Access support services for yourself (like your GP, a counsellor, a support group or peer worker, or one of our programs)
- Avoid making big life decisions while things are unsettled.
Caring for yourself is important
Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM is the Director of Everymind and has her own lived experience of supporting others. Listen to Dr Skehan explain why caring for yourself is so important when you’re caring for others and that self-care isn’t selfish. You need to invest in your own health for you to keep providing support. Forgiving yourself when you don’t get things right is a really important part of this self-care journey.
There are many more resources, videos and strategies in our programs for looking after yourself because there are many ways to practise self-care, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
To start with, the below factsheets may be helpful.