Caring for Yourself as a Caregiver
Cancer affects not only the quality of life of the person who is directly impacted by the disease, but also that of family and friends. This is particularly true for individuals who serve as caregivers for cancer survivors.
It is often easy for caregivers to forget about their own needs while providing unconditional love and support to a cancer survivor. However, it is important to remember that in order to be the best caregiver you can be, you must take care of your own mental, physical, and emotional health as well. Maintaining employment, cultivating relationships outside of your caregiving role, integrating physical activity into your daily routine, and accepting help when it is offered are all ways to ensure that you are able to sustain your overall health and wellbeing while serving as a caregiver. Remember, caregiving is a team effort.
Unfortunately, there can be costs from not caring for yourself:
- An emotional and mental strain seen as exhaustion, anxiety, or depression
- Stress-induced illnesses causing physical ailments
Some ways for caregivers to care for themselves:
- Understand that you are not alone. Support groups and local resources are great ways to find a community
- Take care of your body through a healthy diet, hydration, exercise, and proper sleep
- Be patient with yourself. Find positive ways to cope with new and difficult emotions like journaling or exercising
- Maintain relationships with friends and family. Do not be afraid to ask them for help when you need it
There are many online resources for caregivers, some of which directly relate to caregivers of cancer survivors. Several nationally recognized organizations, including the Family Caregiver Alliance, the National Alliance for Caregiving, and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving provide general resources, information, tools, and support for caregivers of all varieties.
Last Updated: 6/22/2021 11:55:01 AM