Caring for yourself while caring for others
Caring for a loved one with cancer, while important, can also take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. Local charity, Marathon Health are promoting ways people caring for someone with cancer, can also support their own mental wellbeing in the process.
Barbara Geddes, Marathon Health Registered Psychologist says the responsibility of attending to the needs of the person you are caring for, sometimes means you neglect your own needs.
“It is important to think about yourself for your own sake, but if your natural inclination is to focus completely on the person with cancer, remember that looking after yourself will also help you provide better care long term. Think of things that fill your cup and be fully present when doing these things. Don’t feel guilty about having time for yourself - you can’t pour from an empty cup,” Mrs Geddes said.
Mrs Geddes also said it’s important to set boundaries and limits on what you are comfortable helping with and to organise your time so that you prioritise your own weekly tasks and activities.
“Keeping a journal is also a really great way to allow you to release your worries or frustrations and identify areas you may need help with. Also allowing yourself to have a break is very important – organise some respite care for your patient and take some time out to recharge.
Remember that it’s ok to not be perfect – each day brings a fresh start and a chance to remember that you’re doing your best,” Mrs Geddes said.
If you need support visit marathonhealth.com.au/strong-minds-western. This service is supported through funding by the Western NSW as part of the Australian Government’s PHN program.