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Caring for a Child with Long Covid? Let's talk self-care!

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

By Rox Talbot

Occupational Therapy Student

11 November 2021

All about self-care

Your child is ill. You feel like you are running around like a headless chicken chasing medical professionals, reports and appointments. Add to that the complexities of daily life, work and household management, I can imagine you are feeling fairly depleted and exhausted. You might even have Long Covid yourself. Am I right? Yes, I thought so. So, let’s talk about self-care!

What is self-care?

Self-care is not just looking after yourself, it is the conscious act of doing something for YOU that will improve your wellbeing. With the magnificent load on your plate of caring for an ill child, it can be so easy to neglect your own needs. Taking time for yourself should not be seen as selfish. It is a necessity. Be kind to YOU.

Why should I do self-care?

Why not! You are just as deserving as anyone to have some time out for yourself. Research shows that self-care can lead to improved health and better relationships.

What does self-care look like?

It is individual to you. You don’t even have to leave the house if you don’t want to. Self-care can be whatever you want as long as it is important to you. Below are some examples:

  • Have a bath

  • Go into another room and sit quietly with a nice hot coffee (and manage to finish it while it is still hot!)

  • Check in with a friend

  • Have an early night

  • Attend a Pilates class (virtual or in person)

  • Have a spa day

  • Watch a movie with popcorn

  • Say No (to something you don't want to or really need to do)

Image is of a green cup with beige and white swirls coming from it - looks like toothpaste tea. Text on image says Take Care of Yourself

Something is good enough!

Of course, self-care does not have to be an activity but can also be a way of life. Considering your nutrition, exercise and sleep needs is also considered to be self-care.

When it comes to self-care, doing something is better than doing nothing. We are looking for good enough, not perfection. Haven’t got time to cook a three course dinner? Eating a ready meal, rather than eating nothing, is good enough. No time to wash your hair, dry shampoo can be a lifesaver. No time to exercise, walk round the block or have a boogie in the kitchen.

Check out more examples here on @lauraheartlines instagram account

Self-care is not working for me. I need more support.

It is okay to struggle and recognising that is really important. Do see our previous post on the grief cycle. If you need more help then please contact your GP who can signpost to other helpful organisations. Of course, although they are not medical professionals, talking to other parents in similar situations on our facebook group can help too. You are not alone.

Rox Talbot, Occupational Therapy Student, University of Northampton is a UK based international charity supporting and advocating for families, children and young people living with Long Covid. Our story started with a short film on the long-lasting symptoms of Covid in children.

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