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Keeping fit to foster

Whenever you read or hear anything about fostering children you’ll often hear it described as being both challenging and rewarding. Keeping fit at any age is a good idea and certainly helps when it comes to dealing with challenges – and fostering presents many of those. Actively striving to stay healthy is an excellent example to set for children and young people – especially as fitness is now closely connected with establishing long term healthy eating habits. When children and young people come into foster care, it is not uncommon for them to have been neglected in a whole variety of ways: often this means a poor diet over a prolonged period. Foster carers who set a good example in terms of exercise and diet – and then encourage their foster children to do likewise – are showing that they are interested and care. We would love to hear from any of our carers with their tips and advice – what works for you in terms of feeling good and ‘fit to foster’?

Coping with stress

At Rainbow Fostering we always remember that although so much attention naturally goes to the foster child or young person, it is important that foster carers have interests in their own lives – things that they can do that are important to them. The reality of fostering usually means carers have little time to devote to themselves. And when there is a lack of variety in life – whatever your occupation – stress can occur resulting in fatigue. Over time, this can make it harder for a foster carer to do their best for the child or young person in their charge. This stress can ultimately jeopardise a placement which is not in anyones interest – prevention is better than cure so the first thing to do is to relax…and read on…

We are certainly not recommending running marathons or climbing mountains. Instead, we are supporting some of our foster carers who are now looking into getting together to take up Yoga. We are a community at Rainbow Fostering so as soon as we come across anything that might be of interest, or benefit to all our carers, we like to ‘spread the word’.

Yoga is a very ancient type of exercise – originating in India around 5,000 years ago – that yoga asanasaims to develop flexibility, strength and breathing control to increase levels of physical and mental well-being. Yoga has many health benefits with evidence pointing to it boosting immunity, helping people with aches and pains, heart disease, high blood pressure, back pain, depression and stress. Yoga can also help people suffering from arthritis and migraines.

Yoga provides a holistic approach to body, mind and spirit. In simple terms, people who practice the discipline report feeling ‘happier’ and better able to cope. One of the best qualities a foster carer can have is resilience. The practice of yoga is all about developing physical and mental resilience as a protection against the stresses and strains of modern living.

Foster carers might like to consider the benefits yoga offers -

  • improved flexibility, posture and strength
  • enhanced feeling of general well being
  • lowering of anxiety
  • lowering of the risk of depression
  • improved lungs and cardiovascular system
  • improved sleep

Most people are over the age of 35 when they foster so it is good to know you can take up yoga at any age. And it is quite common for people to start yoga in their 70’s. It is an exercise that is suitable for young children and can help them form healthy lifestyle habits.

Remember, everyone can practice yoga, whatever their age, ability or gender. And all you need is a mat!

For more detailed information about yoga visit the link below - http://www.bwy.org.uk/

At Rainbow Fostering we are committed to supporting our carers at all times. We also look to find ways to enrich the fostering experience for everyone involved. Fostering is a journey that changes peoples lives. 9,000 new foster families are needed in 2016 - meaning a lot of children and young people need their lives to be changed for the better. They need care, love and the chance to make something of their lives. If you are already fostering a child and know someone who might be interested in looking after a child or young person, please ask them to get in touch.

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Testimonials

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"My link worker has been very helpful, she is easy to talk to and reliable."

"I enjoy being a foster carer, I find it very fulfilling."

"The reward has been from my foster child seeing her blossom and flourish."