The mental health of carers is so crucial, yet so often neglected.
One in eight adults is a carer.
A carer is someone who often informally cares for a person who is sick, elderly, disabled, mentally ill, has an addiction, or cannot cope on their own. That is 0.5 billion adults! Children are not considered in this figure but if so the numbers would increase dramatically!
This image does not truly represent the word ‘carer’ for me, however, in the western world, it is one we all can easily relate to.
This is a topic that is so very close to me. I know first hand the impacts of being a fulltime carer. It is tough and without adequate support, it really can be dangerous. When one is providing care for a loved one over an extended period, it can become all-consuming. Potential negative effects can occur on the carer’s mental health. Our family receives a lot of care because our youngest daughter has a rare disease called GRIN2B. She requires 24/7 care and will do for her lifetime.
Towards the end of 2019, I wanted to say a thank you to our carers, for all the wonderful support they had given us over the year. I wanted to give them something that encouraged them to also care for themselves. A gift, a handmade product that promotes ‘self-care’.
I started making bathbombs. I valued the soft textures of the ingredients, the rich colours, the aromatherapy (scents) and the delight that comes when dropped in water. Even when my energy was low, I could still be productive and make bathbombs.
If I am honest, the learning process was a total nightmare. Stress increased as the end of the year came closer. It was far from ideal in terms of my own mental health. The bathbombs I made would crumble, or would crack, or would look dull, or activate too early. But I had told my partner that I would provide for the presents for the carer team. I needed to keep going…
Finally, I started to become more consistent and managed to create the gifts we needed.
Once the stress disappeared, I was able to bring my eldest daughter into the ‘lab’. It was great fun to share what I had learned. Together we made some mini-bath-blocks for her friends. She, of course, loves to play with the colours in her own baths.