Kenny’s Blog – Working & Caring8 January 2021
There are many of us who are carers, trying to balance that role with a career. I am sharing what it has been like for me as a carer and the difficulty the lockdown has presented.
At the start of the pandemic, I’d been working for four and a half years, in a very demanding role with a lot of time pressures. My work life was very regimented, and I was on autopilot most of the time. It was very tough mentally and physically to manage being a carer too. At the end of a day’s work there’s no time for yourself as you must provide care straightaway which can involve several tasks that need to be done. It is also difficult to get out as you’re always thinking about the person you care for and what you need to do next.
When you’re doing something this demanding, eventually something must give unless you are from Krypton. You’re under pressure the whole time!
In a typical day, I’ll get up, make breakfast, clean up, then do online shopping before work. Pre-COVID my mum attended a day centre three times a week. But that was cancelled. I also used to take my mum to the gym. She could walk on the treadmill and she would use the cycling machine. But now the gyms are closed. Hairdressers are also closed, so I have had to learn to dye my mum’s hair. She now says I am better than the hairdresser, which I very much doubt!
Caring can be a nightmare sometimes. Especially now when we’re spending so much time at home. When things aren’t going well, I’ve learnt to accept that it’s the illness speaking, not my Mum. My mum has always been extremely strong, but it’s hard seeing her now and remembering how she was.
My advice to carers? Don’t try to do it all alone. Leave the door open. Take the support that’s offered. I’m not professionally qualified. There are days when I’ve been in a very strained frame of mind. I’ve been in a dark place. I’m grateful I was able to get support from close friends and support networks. The biggest mistake I made was thinking I could provide care on my own. Please reach out for support!
I am very thankful that SIG has supported me. This has really benefited my wellbeing and reignited my ambition to go further in my career.