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  1. Your needs matter. Siblings are used to coming second (or third, or fourth…) to someone else’s needs. Remember to put your own oxygen mask on first. You cannot look after others if you become burnt out and ill.
  2. Take things steadily as we enter 2021. The pandemic has been going on for a long time, and it continues. It adds a huge extra layer of pressure on everyday tasks. Wherever you possibly can, take things slowly so that you can keep going over time. We know this is not always possible for many siblings.
  3. Drop the comparison. Siblings who have grown up with a disabled brother or sister often don’t feel able to talk about their difficult times because it ‘isn’t bad enough’ and because ‘others have it so much worse’. But denying your own difficulties, does not reduce the difficulties of others. Let yourself say ‘this is hard for me too’.
  4. Small moments of self-care do add up. Write down five things that you can do in five minutes, that are just for you. Do not multi-task. Keep doing these – they matter over time.
  5. Remember all your strengths as a sibling. So many of us have lived through incredibly challenging and unpredictable situations and we have a great deal of skills to draw on. What are yours? Make a list and keep it nearby for days when you just don’t feel as strong (these are normal).
  6. Be kind to yourself on days when you just don’t feel as strong. If you’re getting short with your brother or sister when you’d normally laugh at something together – don’t beat yourself up. This frustration is normal right now. We’re all human, coping the best we can.
  7. Look after your mental and physical healthIt’s common for siblings not to notice when their own health slides. Many compare their health to their disabled brother or sister’s, which might be different. Your health matters too. Struggling to cope? Text ‘shout’ to 85258 or call the Samaritans on 116 123. Both services 24/7.
  8. Focus on what’s going ‘right’. Anything at all, and especially the small things. Our brains have a negative bias and by deliberately noticing the good, we can help ourselves appreciate what we have.
  9. You can’t be everything to everyone. Siblings often find themselves juggling multiple roles – looking after their disabled brother or sister, elderly parents, as well as their own children and families. Remind yourself that you physically cannot do everything. It’s OK to let some things drop or not do them perfectly.
  10. Remember you are not alone. There are 1.7 million siblings in the UK. We will get through this, and we will get through it together. Whatever you are going through at the moment, there is another sibling out there going through the same. Keep in touch with us and be part of the community: FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInJoin our mailing list.

 

Do you have a tip to share with other adult siblings? Drop us a line info@sibs.org.uk

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