How to Take Care of Yourself When Helping Your Loved One
Cancer is hard not only for someone who is suffering from it but also for his/ her loved ones. It can be hard both emotionally and physically. Your responsibilities will depend on what your loved one needs and what you can offer, as you may happen to share your responsibilities with others.
Taking care of your loved one can make you feel happy. It might give you a deep sense of satisfaction or accomplishment in caring for someone. At the same it can take a toll on your health and can stress you out to the same extent as the patient. It’s very important to take care of yourself in the process of taking care of your loved one.
How to take care of yourself?
● Make time for yourself and find comfort: It can be difficult for you to manage time between taking care of your loved one and yourself, but taking some time for yourself can help you recharge your spirit and make you better at what you do. It’s important that you take at least half an hour out for yourself and do something like watching your favorite tv show, taking a nap, exercising, stretching or yoga, talking to a friend etc.
● Do not hesitate to ask for help: As a caregiver, you need to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and set boundaries for yourself. Areas where you feel you won’t be able to help, you need to ask for help or guidance. This will make your life easy and make things simple. This can also help the person you are caring for have some independence, while you get a break. It’s important to recognize when you need a break so that you do not feel burned out.
● Look for support: If you feel that you are unable to get that emotional support from your family and friends, you should look for professional help like counseling or join a support group that consists of caregivers like you. Talking with others who are in situations like yours can help ease loneliness. You can also get useful ideas from others that might help you. Counseling can also help you in managing your emotions such as frustration, anger, loneliness, guilt etc.
● Look for help: You might find it very difficult to take care of your work and your loved one. You might have to face work-related issues like missed days, low productivity, and work interruptions. If you are unable to cope up, then you should consider hiring professional help/ caregiving for your loved one.
● Learn: Learn all you can about the type of cancer that your loved one is suffering from. For example, you may want to know more about the type and stage of cancer. It may help you to know what to expect during treatment, such as the tests and procedures that will be done, as well as the side-effects that will result. This will help you pre plan and not get you overwhelmed.
● Be positive: While this is easier to say than do, having the feeling of gratitude and a positive outlook can help you to a great extent. Know that it’s okay to laugh, even when your loved one is in treatment. It might help you release tension and will help in improving your coping skills.
● Look after your body: Eat healthy meals, get enough rest and exercise.
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