Keeping calm and well: tips for you and those you care for These tips are designed to help both you and those you care for look after yourselves and protect your mental wellbeing. Our thanks to Carers UK for sharing this information. Ideas for your wellbeing action plan Allocate a time slot in your day for an activity you enjoy – whether it’s to read, write, paint, cook, do some gardening or listen to music. Encourage those you care for to make time for activities they enjoy doing, too. Why not join one of our Carer Café sessions on Zoom? Or sign up for one of our other groups and activities including creative minds, exploring your family tree, and discovering local walks. Try to find moments for yourself – exercising mindfulness, even just by listening to music, is a great way to find calmness and peace of mind. With help from online guidance, many people find seated exercises, yoga or dance helpful to charge up those endorphins too. Is there an exercise-related video or app on your phone you can follow for tips? Why not discover the world of podcasts! There are some good ideas for exercises you can do at home on the NHS website and for the over 50’s why not take a look at Gateshead Older People’s Assembly classes. Also, see Carers UK keeping active and well tips. You can find some helpful information on looking after your mental health at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/ Finding a programme, routine or structure to follow can be a good way to keep your emotions in check and it may be helpful to devise a routine for the person you look after if they need support to do so. Various free online training courses are now available – Carers UK has several bespoke ones for carers who want to review and reinvigorate their skills such as Learning for Living. We know getting enough sleep can be challenging for many carers. Some people find meditation exercises before bed really helpful. Other tips include having a bath with lavender oil, drinking chamomile tea or reading another chapter of that novel you’ve been meaning to pick up again before going to bed (try to find ways to switch off - especially from online devices). Keep in touch with friends, family and others by phone and online. It’s reassuring to know at this time that it can be easy to communicate even from far away. Talking and sharing your feelings with someone who understands can be a massive relief and release. If you’re feeling really alone and very stressed, the Samaritans provide a 24-hour listening service: 116 123 and there are many other sources of support available. Never hesitate to pick up the phone or worry there is no one to support you – we are all in this together. There are lots of supportive online groups and sources of help. For support with developing emotional resilience and improving your sense of wellbeing ask your Carer Wellbeing Facilitator about joining in one of our online group sessions or book a 1-2-1 consultation. You can connect with other carers facing similar challenges around the country by joining in with the Carers UK forum When looking online please do keep in mind that there are sometimes those looking to exploit those in vulnerable circumstances. Most people offering support will be genuine, but beware of scammers masquerading as sources of support and trust your instincts. You can find out more or report a scam here:www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/ Get some fresh air by opening your windows, walking around the garden or going for a walk or a jog.