All ten footsteps – at a glance

Now you've explored all Ten Footsteps for Carers.

As you can see, there's plenty you can do to live well while caring for a relative or friend who has pain.

It's a lot to take in. But don't worry if you can't seem to take it all on board at once. It will take time to develop the skills you need.

So treat this resource as something to keep coming back to, and use it to focus on the footsteps where you need most support.

To help you find the bits that are most helpful for you, here's a quick summary of all ten footsteps and the key ideas in each...

Footstep 1:

Being a carer

  • If you are regularly looking after someone because they have a long-term condition, you are a carer
  • Being recognised as a carer helps you get the support you need
  • You may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance
  • There are lots of organisations that can help carers

Footstep 2:

Acceptance

  • Recognising your carer’s role can be a first step towards accepting, rather than fighting it
  • Learn to seek help rather than struggling on your own
  • Being a carer may give you an opportunity to look again at what life means to you
  • Many carers face a lot of change; fighting it is exhausting. Embracing it can be heart-warming

Footstep 3:

Maintaining relationsips

  • As carers, we can get so busy and overwhelmed we forget to communicate with others
  • If we don't maintain our relationships we risk losing them – and the richness they give to us
  • Learn to connect with others through open and honest talking
  • Remember - you are still the person you were and the relationship with the person you care for still has, at its core, the love or friendship it started with

Footstep 4:

Setting goals

  • Having goals helps you to focus on the things that matter most to you
  • Developing goal setting skills will increase your ability to achieve your goals
  • Using SMART goals will give you a better idea of how to go about achieving them. And you’ll be far more likely to get there!
  • Don't forget to build in some rewards!

Footstep 5:

Managing your commitments

  • Activity diaries are a really useful way to get a clear idea of how you might possibly find some time for yourself
  • Another strategy that might help is “Five teaspoons of energy”
  • Try changing 'unhelpful thoughts' into kinder ones
  • Returning to work or staying in work can be beneficial to you – and the person you care for too

Footstep 6:

Managing thoughts and moods

  • It is normal for human beings to notice ups and downs in their mood
  • Carers can feel angry, frustrated, fearful, low and unmotivated
  • There are lots of skills you can learn to manage your moods better
  • Remember – we all need support and encouragement from other people, so try not to feel bad about asking friends and family to help you

Footstep 7:

Moments for relaxation and mindfulness

  • Relaxation and mindfulness are good for us
  • Learning relaxation can be easier than you expect, although it does take practice
  • Mindfulness can be a helpful way of managing distress and focusing on enjoyment
  • Mindfulness practice helps to reduce stress hormones and reduce unhelpful emotions

Footstep 8:

Health for carers

  • Healthy diets fuel our bodies to give us the energy we need, boost our immune system, and can also improve our mental wellbeing
  • Keep active with activities that are meaningful to us and aid our fitness and wellbeing, rather than just those that meet basic needs
  • Remember – if you don't look after yourself, you won't be able to support the person you care for

Footstep 9:

Good habits for sleep

  • It is very common for people to have difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • Research shows there are a number of good habits to get into, that can aid sleep
  • Try techniques like 'brain dumps and brain spills' to remove worries from the night-time

Footstep 10:

Moving forward when caring ends

  • When caring comes to an end carers often feel they need to “take a break”
  • Even if the change is one you hoped and planned for, you won’t necessarily feel just relief, as you've also lost a valued role
  • If the change is not one that you wished for, remember: it is not selfish or uncaring to enjoy your freedom
  • Reconnecting with others will be an important part of moving on