Take a break

One in four young carers say they feel guilty taking a break from their caring role. I’m a carer myself and know that it can be hard, but they are important for your mental and physical health. However, all young carers are entitled to breaks.

Not all breaks have to cost money. A walk in a new place can help to clear your mind and distract you from any stresses or anxiety. When I walk, I like to either to listen to my favourite music, Taylor Swift, or a podcast, my favourites tend to be true crime related.

With the free bus travel for under 22s you can get around for free. You can also use your free bus travel to see and spend time with friends. This will also help your mental health. There are many activities you can do together which don’t cost money. Me and my friends like to go to the art gallery, sit in a park on a nice day.  We also like by a beach, so we like to walk along there and get an ice cream.

I also do something every Sunday for my mental health. I take a long hot shower, wash my hair, do a facemask, and watch a movie. Doing this each week makes sure I am at least taking a couple hours to myself to re-charge for the week ahead. If I’m stressed towards the end of the week, I know I can look forward to this guaranteed time to myself. You don’t have to do these things exactly, you can spend this time doing a hobby, such as art or something you do for fun such as gaming. The important point is that you take a couple hours each week for yourself.

These are all examples of short breaks you can take from caring which can greatly improve your mental health. If you take small breaks like these little and often you will see an improvement in your mental health as you will have time for yourself to focus on the things you enjoy. Which is also important as we are people outside being a carer which can be hard to remember but important to develop.

Your local carers service can also help with this. You can find your local carers service on the carers trust website. Your local service can provide you with small and extended breaks. The carers service will be able to help you take a break. They may have groups you can attend when you want, sometimes they have short overnight breaks that can give you a slightly extended break. My carers service provided these and also helped me apply to the Time for me fund. This gave me money towards a trip to Alton Towers I took with my friend and my mum. I met this friend 10 years ago at my carers service and we’re still friends to this day. This break gave me and my friend a break from our caring roles and I got to spend some time with my mum out with caring. You don’t have to use this money for a trip to Alton Towers, I have known people who have used them for their hobbies, such as a book box description, or a camera. It all depends on what you want and what will help you.

Taking a break is important for you and your mental health. While it can be hard to take this the more you do it the more normal it can feel. It is better to take breaks little and often rather than wait until you are burnt out and can’t do anything. I hope this has helped show you it is possible to take breaks often and the benefit they can have to you.