How to Deal with Stress as a Foster Carer
If anyone has told you that being a foster carer is a walk in the park – they are lying. It’s not easy, and we never pretend to anyone that it is. We would hate for someone to take on the responsibility of being a foster parent without making them fully aware of what it is they are taking on first.
So yes, you will get stressed out at some point or another as a foster parent. Being a parent is stressful as it is, but when you are trying to raise and guide a child that is not your own, and that is likely to have behavioural and emotional issues of their own, it is not a job for the faint-hearted.
With this said, let us be the first to tell you that it is worth it. What could be better than changing a life, after all?
So how do you maintain your ‘cool’ as a foster carer? There are a number of things you can do that will help you keep your stress level to a minimum as a foster parent, or as a parent full stop! Here are a few of our tips…
Have your own space
Whether it’s your office, conservatory, or bedroom – have an area of your house that is yours that you can wind down in, in the evening. Before you go to sleep give yourself half an hour to relax and assess your day and your emotions. Read your favourite book, or watch your favourite tv programme – make sure you enjoy your “you time”.
Along with offering physical benefits, exercise is good for your mental health and your stress levels. Regularly exercising can drastically improve your mood and will also help you sleep better. It also provides you with the aforementioned alone time and the opportunity to reflect on what could be stressing you out. If you need some ideas to get your started, you can find some ideas by following this link.
You should never have to go through your fostering experience alone. There can be times when the stress of foster care makes you feel like no one understands what you’re going through. Finding a support system, whether it’s friends, family or other foster parents can be crucial you help you get through foster care’s most difficult moments. Having someone to talk to who has gone through a similar situation will reassure you that you can make it through. Remember that when you foster with Lorimer, our team are always on hand 24/7 to help you get through stressful times. Our carers have set up their own local support groups where they meet regularly for coffee to share their experiences and meet new friends!
Everyone needs a break – and taking a break from fostering does in no way make you a ‘bad’ foster parent. In fact, it makes you a good one. Being able to realise and accept when you need some alone time or time to yourself is very important. As a Lorimer carer, you will be entitled to 2 weeks respite/holiday allowance and/or days out allowance. You can break the 2 weeks (14 days) up as you see fit, for example you can take 1 weeks respite away from fostering plus 4 days additional holiday pay plus 3 separate days out additional pay. It is built to suit each and every carer and their different circumstances.