Being supportive and providing care for a family member or friend going through cancer can be difficult on the ones closest to them. Being a caregiver can take a physical and emotional toll. So it is important to take time for yourself. The better you can take care of yourself, the better care you can take of your loved one.
Caregivers need care, too.
Tips for taking care of yourself:
Stay Relaxed: Try to take at least 15 to 30 minutes each day to do something just for you. Whether it is taking a nap, watching TV, finishing that puzzle you have not had time for, or anything else that you find relaxing.
Stay Active: Doing simple exercises can improve your physical health and your mental health, too. Stretching, yoga, and going on walks can help to keep you healthy. These activities are also good for allowing yourself some alone time.
Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise regimen.
Stay Social: Do not forget to stay connected to your family and friends. Cutting back on certain social activities does not have to mean cutting them out entirely. Remaining socially active is a healthy practice.
Ask for Help. Sometimes asking for help can feel uncomfortable, but allowing yourself to accept outside aid is important. It does not have to be for difficult tasks. Activities such as setting up appointments or help running errands can relieve stress.
Research has shown that mindfulness meditation may help caregivers by fostering acceptance and by creating a comfortable acknowledgment of stressors. Below are some basic steps to help you get started in your meditation practice.
Anywhere you can remain stable and feel calm will do.
If you are a beginner, it is best to set a time limit of 5 to 10 minutes.
Breathe in and out, and simply notice the sensations in your body.
Your mind may wander, and that is OK, but acknowledge it.
When you are ready to end your meditation, take time to slowly bring yourself back into the environment.
For spouses, friends, or family, caring for loved ones with cancer, it is also important for them to find support and resources. Learn more about your important role as a caregiver by visiting the websites of the advocacy organizations below.
The organizations listed above are independent nonprofit organizations. Their inclusion here does not imply endorsement of LIBTAYO, Regeneron, or Sanofi Genzyme.