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If you're a caregiver for a person who is going through cancer treatment, you're probably giving your all to them as they endure it.
It's so essential for the person living with cancer to take the time to heal their body and recover. However, if you're the caregiver, it’s also important to take care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself includes nurturing both your mind and body. It may include reconnecting with what brings you energy, happiness and joy. The following are a few ideas to help you reconnect and start your self-care plan:
If you're a caregiver reading the blog, please share your thoughts and ideas on what has worked for you as you nurture and care for yourself.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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I care for my developmentally disabled adult daughter and your picture of a caregiver who can rest with lipstick and earbuds gave me a chuckle. Show me a caregiver who has time for all that and I'll show you a lawn that needs to be mowed! In this 24/7 caregiver's life, with my death the only end in sight, relief is two half-hour periods a week when my daughter receives a visit by telephone from her uncle and one from her father. If I have planned correctly then I enjoy a brief rest that goes by in a flash; but it is a moment where my attention does not have this constant split-focus fixed upon my daughter's well-being. This work is a calling too painful for most, and of no value to any but God. And that is where I place my trust that the endless pouring out of this caregiver's life will have been worthwhile.
For many caregivers those recommendations are really impossible. I took care of my dad for 8 years. There was no one else to help out. It's amazing how quickly you learn who really cares and who is always just too busy. Not to sound bitter, I'm not. I loved my dad and would do it again, but I had no help and no break for all that time. Never even an hour for myself. I remember one time I finally got one of my brothers to agree to take my dad for an afternoon so I could have a little time to myself. All I really wanted was a nap. But after half an hour they brought him back because he was complaining about this or that and they couldn't handle it.
Being a caregiver ruined my health and caused me to become extrememly depressed to the point of contemplating suicide and had to seek professional help after my dad passed. PLEASE if you know anyone who is a caregiver. Help them by giving them a break now and then. You may be saving THEIR life as well.
As a mother and wife of two cancer patients that is so true. Most important to me was to have spiritual support from my church friends and bible study friends. Having their prayers for my husband and myself felt so healing. Also the prayers for my daughter who has breast cancer. My husband and I like to read and we have gone through the Mitford series by Jan Karon this summer. Very uplifting. Being grateful for the good health that we do have also helps.
My mother has breast Cancer, stage 3. She is a heart patient and diabetic too. She is going through chemotherapy and after that surgery. My faith in God has never been stronger than it has become now. Also have faith in yourselves as caregivers we are special too. Take good care of your own health too. I know it is very difficult but let all those tears come out for once and after that no more tears just happy faces full of hope. Be brave be hopeful. This too shall pass.
When my husband was going through radiation and chemo, I reconnected with some knitting friends once a week. I recognized that I would need a little me time and socialization. It was so good for me and my husband!
Connect with your friends every week. Plan time to share a meal or snack, exercise, hobbies or enjoyment with friends.
Don't forget to celebrate special days and victories.
Be thankful for kindness.
Keep in touch with God; he is available 24 hours a day. He designed us to be in relationships with himself and others.
Thanks for the common sense recommendations. As a caregiver 24/7 for a wonderful wife of over 50 years, there are conflicting demands; the wife needs help w/meds at night, help w/food/meds during the day, help w/washing at bedtime. Thus, difficult to get the time to do most of your recommendations. My one personal time is a morning walk/run for 30 minutes in our neighborhood pathways. This enriches my spirits so I have the energy to properly take care of the love of my life. A privilege not a problem.
I'm taking partial care of my daughter and sister who both have stage 4 cancer. I feel like I need to be split into two persons at times. They both live in seperate cities about two and a half hours away from one another. It takes me a little over an hour to reach my daughter and then on to my sister's takes three hours. I am thankful they are both in the same state as I and I can travel by car to reach them. I have God as my Saviour to guide and keep me sane and partially well. I have a few health issues myself, but nothing like cancer. I've also seen my GP to start some tests to be "on top" of my condition. Both my parents have had cancer. So, I'm try to take care of me too!
Phone calls from well-wishers always seem to come at the wrong time, especially if the person is terminally ill.
Use social media (if ok with patient) or some form of mass distribution for informing others of status.
When asked "what can I do to help?" think of something that you usually do.. People really do want to help and are pleased when given a task.
Avoid using alcohol or medication to treat stress.
Exercise! Walking clears the mind and lifts the spirit.
Don't let others waste your time. People love to share Cancer stories but this is not always helpful info since every cancer is different.If you are busy just say so!
Don't try to hold back the tears. Tears are healing!
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