Cancer is a battle, but not just for the patient.
Watching someone you love fight cancer is a battle of its own.
A battle against:
And sometimes even depression.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from watching my mom battle cancer is that you need to take care of yourself.
I used to find myself constantly worrying about my mom’s cancer and making sure she was okay.
But then I realized I was the one who wasn’t okay.
And I didn’t want to admit it.
I was scared to confess that I needed help, but once I did, I learned how to prioritize my well-being and found some (healthy) ways to deal with my stress.
Based on my personal experience, here are ten things you can do for yourself if you have a loved one battling cancer:
1. Let your teachers and employers know what’s going on
- I’ve run into several occasions at school and work where I’ve broken down into tears. Sometimes you can’t help it, and that’s okay. But letting your teachers and employers know what’s going on can really help ease the stress. From my experience, they’ve been more than understanding and accommodating.
2. Vent to your friends
- Your friends genuinely care about your well-being and want to be there for you – so let them. They might not fully understand what you’re going through, but they want to help. Don’t feel like a burden for venting your feelings to them, that’s what they’re there for.
3. Let your friends know that you don’t want to talk about it
- You’re also going to have days where you don’t feel like talking about cancer at all, and that’s okay – but your friends may not know that. If the subject is brought up, don’t be afraid to say you’d rather talk about something else. Trust me, they’ll understand.
4. Write in a journal
- If you don’t feel like communicating your thoughts or feelings with anyone else, write them down in a journal – even if you’re not a writer. You don’t have to be a good writer to keep your thoughts or feelings in a private journal.
5. Get an adult colouring book
- I’m serious. Colouring, painting, and even drawing have been proven to be therapeutic ways for relieving stress. Plus, it’s fun!
- Exercise has also been proven to relieve stress. I always feel my mood has improved after I go for a run or walk around the block.
7. Listen to music
- I always feel more relaxed when I’m listening to music through my earphones. It feels like a mini escape from the world. (Earphones in, world off).
8. Stay organized
- Staying organized can keep your stress level under control. I personally found keeping a daily planner and writing all my tasks and upcoming events in a calendar really helped.
9. Go out and have fun
- I cannot stress enough the importance of distracting yourself and maintaining a balance when your loved one has cancer. If you constantly find their cancer on your mind, go out, have fun, and distract yourself; go to the fair, the bar, a ball game, the movies, etc.
10. Talk to a counsellor
- If you’re still struggling with handling stress, consider speaking with a counsellor. Sometimes talking to your friends and family isn’t enough. Talking to someone unbiased, outside your regular circle can be really beneficial, and they can help you find additional ways to cope.