Taking breaks as a young carer

I know myself how hard taking breaks as a young carer can be sometimes as it feels like you can’t because you’ve got so much to do with your caring role and things like school or university work and maybe you also have a job. These may make it harder to take a break but don’t feel like you don’t deserve to have one as sometimes it is the best thing for everyone in the situation.

You are not alone in these feelings as 1 in 4 young carers feel guilty or selfish taking a break from their caring role.

Taking a break from your caring role can have benefits for both you and the person that you care for as it gives everyone a chance to have time to themselves which can leave everyone feel revived. Especially for you, as caring for someone can take up a lot of energy which is why it is so important to take breaks so you can do your best when caring for that person. Also, if you go and spend time with friends or do something fun it will give you more things to talk about with the person you care for.

A break doesn’t have to be a weeklong holiday in the sun, depending on your situation and what you enjoy doing it will look very different for everyone. For some people a couple of hours spent watching tv, playing an Xbox or just listening to music in their room will give them just that little bit of time to themselves which can help in so many ways. Another way you can take a break is spending time outside which also has great impact on your mental health. This can be just going for a walk, a cycle or maybe if you can go further an adventure outdoor place.

Some of the things I like to do it to take breaks is spending time with my friends as it helps to just keep my mind off things and it is always such a good time.

I also got the Short Breaks fund from my carers service but as it got in during Covid-19 one of the things I got was an apple watch which really helped me to track my exercise. As I enjoying running which was a break from my caring role but also a chance to be outside which had amazing benefits on my mental health which also made feel refreshed and ready to do my caring role.

One place that can really help with shorter breaks is Young Scot as they have a Young Carers package which offers a range of different things that you can claim or have a chance of winning. They often package like a pamper, selfcare or even family one which could have games, snacks and selfcare items in them, they have vouchers for shops or even experience like Go Ape or Ticketmaster and there are always competitions for tech like iPad.

There is also your Young Carers service in your area who you may not be involved with but may have a range of ways that they can help you take a break, as they might have groups you could attend or even one-off events and, they may have ways to support you taking a break by yourself or with friends or family.