Be Your Best: caring for yourself first

Sunday, June 16, 2024 be your best
Be Your Best: caring for yourself first
Facilitated carers coach Peter Cole believes that before you can care for others, you need to care for yourself.

Peter Cole believes that before you can care for others, you need to care for yourself first.

This is something he teaches new carers in one of his roles as a facilitated carers coach.

“When we’re caring for people, we often lose ourselves a little bit, and we spend all of our time thinking about others and we can become quite lost,” Peter said.

He says while it is important to consider your client when learning to care for them, he’s interested in finding “some sort of understanding of what’s happening with you”.

While Peter started his career as a labourer and chef, among other things, he couldn’t get the need to work in mental health out of his head.

“I’d been aware of [work in mental health] from a young age,” he said.

“A family I was close to, their father had a serious mental illness, so it’s always been there in the background.

“I guess growing up and seeing other people go through that, and so it, so that was an area that I went in to within community services.”

Back then, Peter saw mental health treated as something people shouldn’t, or couldn’t speak about.

“I remember talking to my parents about it, they didn’t understand.

“Just watching the way that family dealt with it and the way that it affected the whole family was definitely something that drove me to want to do that.”

Peter worked his way through the industry to become an assessment and planning officer with Bendigo Health’s Carer Support Services.

Within this team, they are able to refer potential carers to their coaching program.

These sessions are a place for the carers to set goals for themselves, change the way they think about the role and prepare for their future.

“I’ve had people that are caring for those that are palliative,” Peter said.

“They haven’t really been able to think about the future because of the fear of what that looks like.

“But being able to talk about it and think about what needs to change, what steps need to be taken.”

Peter said his job makes him feel “privileged whenever I speak to these people”.

“I’m always amazed at how resilient people are, and actually how resourceful people are. They may not realise it,” he said.

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