Helping Caregivers Cope
Written By: Sharon Burden


Being a caregiver for someone while they go through the treatment process of cancer is not easy and can take a toll on you physically, emotionally, and mentally. To be the best caregiver possible you have to find ways to cope with the rollercoaster of your patients emotions, the constant doctor and/or hospital visits, your lack of personal time/space and many other factors so that you can be the best caregiver possible.

Communication
You may think that communicating with your patient isn't a way to cope but it is. Being able to openly communicate allows you to gauge your patient’s mental and emotional stability so you will be able to cope with mood swings, lashing out or any other behaviors your patient exhibits while they are receiving treatment.

Yoga/Meditation
Yoga would be good to help cope with the task of being a caregiver because not only is it a time for you to relax and get time for yourself but it also contributes to your overall physical well-being.
If you do not have the time to step away to a yoga class you could step away for 15-20 minutes for meditation. This contributes to your mental well-being by allowing you to not think about your to-do list or

Hobby
Finding a hobby/activity that you can take with you wherever you are is another coping mechanism, this allow you to unwind and have your mind at rest at least for a few moments. A few hobbies that you can carry with you while your patient is getting treatment could be knitting, reading, activity books such as: Sudoku, crosswords, word search, or coloring.

Going to an outdoor space
Most of the time hospitals will have an outdoor “oasis” or space where they encourage people to go out for a moment to get a breath of fresh air. This would be an amazing place to relax and get away from beeping monitors and the bland hospital walls. It would also allow you to get a moment to yourself where you don't have to monitor your patient since they will also be given care from nurses.


As a caregiver you have to remember
that you are not the one with cancer but being a caregiver of someone who does can often have you feeling like you are going through the same thing. At UP Cancer we encourage you, the caregiver, to take care of yourself in all aspects of your life so that you can provide the best care to your cancer patient.