As a caregiver, your health matters, too

As a caregiver, it’s important to take care of your own health as well. After all, if you aren’t looking after yourself, how can you help your loved one? Be kind to yourself and your body.

Tips for caring for yourself

Tips for caring for yourself:

  • Get regular check-ups. Take your prescribed medicines
  • Try to fit pleasant activities into your lifestyle
  • Do light or simple exercise when you can (check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine)
  • Connect with friends and loved ones when possible
  • Don’t turn a blind eye to your feelings, especially if they include sadness, stress, or anger
  • Never ignore your own personal health issues, even though you’re busy as a caregiver
Know your limits

Know your limits

Research shows that people who care for a loved one with a long-term illness often experience higher anxiety than the average person. Stress in caregivers is common. It’s also a normal human reaction. Learning to cope is very important.

Talk with someone. If you are feeling down often, you may want to try connecting with other cancer caregivers. Consider joining a caregiver support group. Meeting others who know what you are going through may be helpful. To get started, you can find a list of cancer caregiver support organizations here.

But, if you begin to feel very sad or alone, it may be time to consider speaking with a social worker, counselor, or other professional.

It may help to talk to a professional

It may help to talk to a professional

Support from family and friends can be valuable for both you and your loved one. But even with extra help and support, you may still feel overwhelmed and sad at times. You may also experience other emotions, including:

  • Feeling hopeless and lacking interest in activities
  • Always feeling irritable, tired, or lacking any energy
  • Constant anxiety and/or restlessness

If some of these feelings are familiar to you, speak with a doctor or nurse to help you address them. Professional advice and counseling may help you get a handle on your emotions.