Caring for those with cancer is really hard. There is that emotional pull of worry - how will the patient respond to treatments? Are they going to recover? The emotional drain of "not knowing" is real, and tricky. There is also pressure to put others' needs in front of your own, but what you don't want to do is create a crisis for yourself. According to Dr. Richard J Hodes, director of NIH’s National Institute on Aging, “One important insight from our research is that because of the stress and time demands placed on caregivers, they are less likely to find time to address their own health problems.” With National Caregivers Day coming up, we wanted to provide you with some of the best ways to care of yourself, while also caring for someone else.
Make TIME for You!!!
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but making time for yourself can be hard to do when you are thinking about others constantly. Start small and set aside at least 10 minutes each day for you. Read your favorite magazine, go outside, eat a cookie… Just do something that will make you happy!!
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can improve your mood and boost energy which are two very important aspects in a caregiver’s life. Try to get in some sort of exercise on most days of the week… It can be as simple as going on a walk or doing some light stretching!! This can be a game changer in how you feel physically AND mentally throughout your week.
Ask for Help
Caregiver burnout is real and it could happen to you if you are constantly doing everything on your own. Don't be afraid to reach out to other family members or close friends to give you a helping hand every now and then. Delegating extra tasks can take some weight off your shoulders and hopefully provide some ease during stressful times.
Stay Organized and Make a Plan
Caregiving can often become a full-time job even when you have a million other responsibilities in your life. Make a schedule/ to-do list each week to organize all of your responsibilities. This will help ensure that everything gets done in a timely manner and will reduce that end-of-the-week stress that can build up.
Being a caregiver is a big role, but part of that role is also taking care of yourself. We hope you can take these tips and apply them to your routine so you can continue to be the best version of yourself!