This blog has kindly been written by Louise McWatt who is currently volunteering for the Neuro Therapy Centre.

Next week, 8 – 14 June, is Carers' Week, an annual awareness campaign to recognise and celebrate the vital contribution made by the UK’s 6.5 million unpaid carers.

More importantly perhaps, it is an opportunity to put a national focus on the many challenges carers face. Challenges which have become significantly more complex since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March.

A loss of control, routine and community can feel overwhelming. Anxiety about the efficacy of social distancing – and frustration with people who don’t always seem to be taking it seriously – can cause a great deal of distress when you are caring for someone who is vulnerable. Being a carer can be physically and emotionally draining.

The importance of self-care

It is important for all of us to invest in our health and well-being, but when you are a carer it is vital. We know that this can be easier said than done, so this National Carers' Week we’re bringing you a few tips and opportunities that might help.

1. Don’t be afraid to reach out

Social connection has never been more crucial. And whilst we might not be able to meet up as we did previously (though remember, that will pass), we can still help each other. Pick up the phone and speak to someone you love. Call our team for a chat. Arrange a catch up with your neighbour over the garden fence. A simple conversation can lift your spirits and make a big difference to your day.

2. Join our carers’ coffee morning on Zoom

A good cuppa and a chat can really cheer us up, which is why we would love you to join us on Zoom for a virtual coffee morning! Grab a hot drink, make yourself comfy and enjoy a catch up with your friends from the Centre. Our next virtual coffee morning will take place on Tuesday 9th June at 10.30am, you can register to take part on our website.

3. Sign up for our online gym class

We all know the value of keeping physically active, but that can be easier said than done when you struggle to get out of the house. Allow us to bring you some good news: you can now join our fab carers’ gym class from the comfort of your own home! Sam and Santi will be hosting our next online class on Monday 8th June at 10.30am. Join them on Zoom, and get your week off to a really positive start. Register to take part, here.

4. Get quizzical on Zoom

If the idea of getting physical doesn’t thrill you, how about getting quizzical? Our virtual Zoom quiz is fast-becoming a highlight of our week. Swot up on your general knowledge, pour yourself a drink, and join us for 90 minutes of fun and entertainment. Our next quiz is Tuesday 9th June at 6pm. Register to take part here.

5. Light at the end of the tunnel and the value of community

The Covid lockdown has presented us all with a unique set of challenges, but it won’t go on forever. Despite what the headlines would have us believe (and remember they are biased to hyping the negative) there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime, remember that you are a valued member of our community. We’re here to support you whenever you need us.