The changes people can experience when living with a brain injury can sometimes make caring for them overwhelming. It’s important to remember that taking care of your own mental health is just as important as taking care of your loved one. In this article, we’ll give you some practical tips and strategies for supporting your own mental health.
Accept help from others
Being a carer can be an isolating experience. Where possible look to find and connect with others who are also caring for someone living with a brain injury or disability. Reach out to friends, family, or support groups in your community and don’t be afraid to say yes to help when it’s offered. Talking to others who are going through a similar experience can be a great source of comfort and can help you feel less alone.
Synapse has online and in-person support groups for carers across NSW, QLD, and WA.
Learn the impact of a brain injury
Understanding how brain injuries occur, the effects of a brain injury and how it may impact everyday life can give you a better understanding of your loved one’s symptoms. This will also help you manage your own expectations, reactions, and feelings when things occur. Take time to read books, articles, Synapse’s website, and other resources about brain injuries and its impact on behaviour, emotions, and cognitive functioning.
Look for ways to give yourself a break
Caring for someone with a brain injury isn’t the same as a 9-5 job, you can’t leave at the end of the day. Yet, you need to find ways to take breaks and give yourself time to recharge. Take advantage of respite care services or ask friends and family to help out so you can take some time for yourself. Even short breaks can help you feel better or provide you with a new perspective on things.
Talk to someone
If you’re struggling with your own mental health because of caring for someone with a brain injury, don’t hesitate to seek professional support. A therapist or counsellor can provide you with tools and strategies to manage stress, anxiety, and other emotions. They can also provide a safe space to talk about your experiences and feelings.
Here are some services you can visit for support:
• Beyondblue or call 1300 224 636
• Lifeline or call 13 11 14
• MensLine Australia or call 1300 789 978
• Carer Gateway
Caring for someone with a brain injury can be a challenging experience that takes a toll on your own mental health. Taking steps to care for yourself and seek support when you need it can make all the difference for you and your loved one now and into the future. If you need more support and resources for carer, please reach out to Synapse’s Information and Referral team.
- Practice self-care: Make sure to prioritise self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and trying to get enough sleep
- Try mindfulness activities: Take a few moments each day to practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to manage stress.
- Set clear boundaries: Set realistic expectations for yourself and your loved one and look for ways to gain support, like accessing the NDIS or My Aged Care.