When you're looking after a loved one, it's easy to forget about your own needs. You're supporting a family member or friend and wish to do your best by them. However, it's really important to think about yourself as well.

Looking after your own health and wellbeing as a carer

Here are a few tips that may help your own health and wellbeing, whilst also supporting someone affected by bipolar.

Share your feelings with someone you trust

It's really important to have someone to talk to, especially if you're struggling to cope. Think about the people in your life who you can turn to for support. If you wish to speak to someone who has been in a similar situation to you, you might also want to access Bipolar UK's Mentoring service. You can also speak to our Information and Support team by calling 0333 323 3880 or emailing info@bipolaruk.org.

Eat well

Sometimes it's hard to keep to a healthy diet when you're busy looking after your loved one, which can be both physically and mentally draining. Try to eat regular meals with plenty of fresh druit and vegetables. It may help to plan your meals and make extra portions that you can keep for when time is short.

Get some rest

Lack of sleep can make it more difficult to cope with day-to-day challenges that you face. You might be dealing with various struggles, including emotional worries, isolation and money troubles. Try and ensure you can get as much sleep as possible. Carers can often find it hard to sleep when they're worried about the individual they care for. Here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable - not too hot, cold or noisy.
  • Try not to work or have your computer or TV in your bedroom.
  • Cut down on tea or coffee in the evening.
  • Don't eat or drink a lot late at night. Have your evening meal earlier if you can.
  • Spend some time relaxing before going to bed. There are many different relaxation techniques, including listening to music, reading books or taking a bath.

If you're still finding it hard to sleep, talk to your GP for advice.

Physical activity

Finding the time to exercise can prove difficult at times. However, if you can set aside some time in the week to do a little exercise, this will help your own health and wellbeing. This could be a trip to your local gym where you can access classes or you could do swimming. You could also use home gym equipment or you could go walking/jogging near your home.

Go here for more information for carers, family and friends.

Find out more about our Mentoring service for anybody affected by bipolar, including carers.