Caring for someone with cancer is a tough challenge. Belong.Life shares 5 tips to help caregivers care for themselves so they’re able to keep going over the long term.
A cancer diagnosis is life-changing. It deeply affects a person’s entire immediate circle and impacts almost all aspects of life.
Often, family members and close friends become caregivers and have to learn new skills while making incredible emotional sacrifices to support the person they care about.
At the same time, caregivers must be sure that they are caring for themselves as well so they can keep going for the long term.
Belong.Life, the world’s largest social network for cancer patients and caregivers, shares 5 key tips for how to care for yourself when you’re caring for someone with cancer.
1. Define your limits
For some, helping and supporting a loved one can produce positive feelings. However, it’s also natural to feel overwhelmed and sometimes even trapped.
When you feel the work isn’t being shared evenly or that you are being pushed more than other friends and family, it’s necessary to define your limits and work together on a new plan.
2. Consult with professionals beyond doctors
It’s difficult to plan for a major health challenge like cancer.
Often, it will happen suddenly. Without much notice, you’ll need to take on care for a cancer patient and help make crucial decisions about medical care.
Fear, hopelessness, guilt, confusion and anger are not just emotions felt by patients, but by caregivers as well.
Don’t be shy. Turn to social workers and psychologists in your local hospitals and communities to learn from and connect with experts.
3. Take time out for yourself
Many caregivers feel guilty about taking a break.
However, taking breaks provide much needed strength and clarity for the continued challenges that lie ahead.
A break can take many forms, including participating in social activities, exercising, or engaging in relaxing and restful activities like reading a book, watching a movie, or taking a trip.
It’s important to schedule some time off to give your mind a break from thinking about the disease and caregiving tasks.
4. Don’t try to do everything yourself
Some caregivers feel like they must do everything by themselves.
They may believe that, as a partner, brother, son, or daughter, it all rests on their shoulders.
Remember that there are many aspects of care that experts can help you with, especially when it comes to medical issues.
5. Find support
Talking to other caregivers in similar situations helps ease loneliness. It also gives new ideas and tips regarding treatment and overcoming a wide range of challenges.
A useful tip from one caregiver to another can make a world of difference when you’re caring for someone with cancer.
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Guest contributor: Belong is a free app that unites more than 120,000 global cancer fighters around the world, providing education, tips, networking with medical professionals, support and clinical trial matching. Belong is available for download at https://belong.life/download-eng/
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