Nothing can fully prepare you for caring for a loved one with cancer. It’s normal to feel a range of emotions. The National Cancer Institute reminds caregivers that it’s natural to become stressed, angry or depressed while caring for an ill loved one. Learn how to take time for yourself while acting as a caregiver. There’s nothing selfish about needing time to care for yourself. In fact, you’ll be a better resource for your loved one if you support your own needs.
Look into support groups, either online or in person. Talking to others who are in the same situation may help you. Find resources that will assist you in caring for your loved one, such as community resources or volunteers. Ask friends and family to help you with tasks like doing grocery shopping and cooking meals. You can’t do this alone.
Talk to your doctor
Make sure your doctor knows that you’re caring for a loved one with cancer. It’s important to have your mental health supported by a professional. Your doctor may recommend resources to you or may want to see you more often to see how you’re doing.
Get out of the house regularly
Whether you go on a walk or just run an errand, it’s important to get out of the house or out of the hospital, depending on where your loved one is staying. You need time alone to process your feelings, cry or simply distract yourself for a while. There’s nothing wrong with needing that time to decompress from the anxiety and sadness you may be feeling.
Continue your exercise routines
Don’t neglect physical fitness. Exercise helps you manage your emotions and helps you sleep. It helps you lower your risk of many chronic conditions and is good for your overall well being. If your time is limited, find ways to exercise indoors. Try stretching or doing some light strength training.
Focus on your own health
While caring for a loved one with cancer, you’ll likely be completely focused on your loved one’s health. Try to focus on your own health too. Remember to take your medications, to keep up with doctor’s appointments and to get plenty of rest and good nutrition. Stress and strong emotions can wear you down, and the last thing you want is to get sick when you’re caring for a loved one.
For information on our cancer care programs at the Medical Center of Lewisville, visit us online or give us a call at 972-420-1000.