Being a foster or kinship carer is a big commitment and there are many challenges and hurdles that you may encounter. Taking good care of yourself is necessary for you, the child and your family. You must be in good emotional and physical health to be able to provide care to others. The name given to this type of stress is compassion fatigue or vicarious trauma. Often the signs are either not recognised or carers do not prioritise their own well-being.
It can be hard to find the time but it is important that you don’t “burnout”.
Some of the signs of being burnt out are:
- Anger, resentment or feeling sad
- Feeling exhausted or drained
- Forgetfulness or poor concentration
- Difficulty in making good decisions
- Difficulty in managing your emotions
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of motivation
- Getting sick more than usual
- Intrusive reoccurring thoughts
- Detachment or withdrawing from your friends
- Too busy to take time for yourself
Things to do for self-care:
- Remember to keep in touch with family and friends. Don’t forget to have a laugh together
- Take some time to do the things you enjoy such as gardening, listening to music, read a book or spend time with your pet
- Exercise like walking, swimming, tennis or cycling are a great outlet
- Relax through yoga, tai chi, practise a mindfulness activity, or soak in a bubble bath
- Get enough sleep, have an early night or two
- Stay involved with the community, this might be your church, visiting local markets or coffee with a friend
- Ask for respite when required. Discuss respite requests with your child’s case manager and remember to allow time for approval
We also have our Carer Support Officer staff, Martin and Izzy who are available for a chat or debrief. Just give us a call on 1300 030 928 to arrange a time to chat with them over the phone.