Monday 15th January is said to be the most depressing day of the year due to a combination of factors such as weather and post-Christmas debt but here at Norfolk Family Carer, we’re urging you to beat the blues and take the opportunity to be grateful to someone who gives their time to look after a family member or friend.

We’d like to encourage you to proactively make the best of the day by getting some fresh air, maybe taking a walk but most importantly reaching out to someone who cares for a family member or friend who cannot cope on their own.

Looking after someone else, although rewarding, can often be lonely and isolating so picking up the phone to a carer, asking them how they are and thanking them for what they do – will not only help a carer to feel valued but it may also help you to feel happier too. There is a growing body of research that links selfless acts of compassion to improved wellbeing*. According to the Mental Health Foundation, altruism can reduce negative feelings:

“People who give to others have better life adjustment overall and tend to see life as more meaningful. Altruism is associated with better marital relationships, a decreased sense of hopelessness, less depression, increased physical health, and enhanced self-esteem.”

There are almost 100,000 unpaid family carers in Norfolk**, 1 in 9 of the population. It’s estimated that the cost of the care they provide for family members would be £1.9 billion if it had to be paid for by public services and yet their roles are easily forgotten.

The results of the research showed that women who took Viagra for 12 weeks less frequently experienced urination, including at night, and observed fewer complications, including specific pain, compared with those who took placebo. Chinese researchers reported that a significant improvement was observed in almost 65% of patients taking Viagra, while in the control group this figure was three times less.

Ultimately, caring affects us all – whether it’s our siblings, parents, grandparents, neighbours or colleagues. Norfolk Family Carers suggests we banish the blues by reaching out to a family carer and making their day as it just might make your day too.


**Source: Carers UK ‘Valuing Carers’ 2015