Give your feedback on the first draft of a Young Carers article!
We're writing an article about ways to cope as a young carer.
Our content team have created a first draft of this article, and are looking for your help in shaping this, before publishing it next week. In particular, is there anything you feel they have missed?
We have attached it as a document, as well as putting it in the spoiler.
You can comment your feedback below
All the best,
Caitlin and The Mix Team
Living as a young carer – ways to cope when things feel tough
Being a young carer can sometimes be overwhelming – here are some tips on what to do to help you cope when you’re finding things difficult.
Am I a young carer?
You may be a young carer if you’re under 18 and you’re doing unpaid caring. This can include looking after someone who is sick or disabled, or someone who has mental health problems or issues with addiction. You may also be a young adult carer if you’re under 25 and caring for a sibling, parent or another relative or family friend.
Being a carer can be difficult and lonely
Firstly, if you’re a young or young adult carer – you're amazing. Taking care of someone is a kind and brilliant thing to do, and it can have so many rewards. You get to help someone you love; you learn loads about looking after someone and you can see how much your care has changed their life for the better.
But caring can also be tough, lonely and stressful. If you feel that way sometimes – that's ok.
What things do young carers struggle with?
Maybe you feel worried about the person you care for, or anxious about how other family members are coping. Money issues might keep you up at night, or you may feel stressed because you can’t keep up with your job or your schoolwork.
When you spend a lot of your time caring, it can be difficult to make room for your social life. When your friends are out having fun, it can feel isolating, like you’re missing out and that other people don’t really get what you’re going through.
Although you love the person you care for, it’s easy (and totally understandable) to feel frustrated that you can’t have much “me time.” You might feel like you just want a “normal” life and that can make you feel angry sometimes.
Spending a lot of time caring can affect your self-esteem, as you don’t have as much time to make friends and have down time. You might experience bullying at school because people see you as being a bit different, and this can knock your confidence too.
How can I find ways to cope?
Remember that it’s normal to feel like you’re not coping. Caring for someone can be hard and if you’re struggling, there’s no need to feel guilty. You’re not alone and there are lots of things you can do to help with the tough days.
Here are some things you can do to help you cope:
Talk to someone:
When you’re feeling isolated, the best thing you can do is to have a chat with someone, so go and meet a friend for a cuppa and tell them how you’re feeling. There are also plenty of online forums and support groups you can join, like The Mix’s online community, and this one run by Carers UK. Speaking to other young carers who know where you’re coming from can make you feel less alone.
Write things down:
It sounds simple but keeping a journal can make a huge difference. It’s totally private and gives you a place to vent if you're having a bad day, or just want to have a good rant. Try writing down whatever’s on your mind. This can help you to make sense of things and get burning issues off your chest.
Learn how to be mindful
Mindfulness helps you to keep calm by becoming more aware of the present moment. When you’re starting to freak out, some simple breathing techniques can really help. Head to Try the Headspace app for some short, easy meditations and visit bemindful for more information on mindfulness.
Do the things you love:
Are you great at basketball? Could you spend hours painting? Do you love making up songs on your guitar? Make the time to do the things you enjoy! It will help to reduce your stress levels and make you feel happier and more like yourself.
Taking some time out for a walk in the fresh air, or a long, hot soak in the tub can also be great for getting your mojo back.
Ask for some support:
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help if you’re finding things overwhelming. You could speak to a teacher at school or talk to your GP to ask for advice. At The Mix, there are several support services you could contact if you want to talk to someone about what you’re going through.