Taking care of a person who has cancer takes time, work, and effort. Caregivers often forget to take care of their own physical and emotional health. In fact, studies show more than 50% of caregivers experience burnout.
Caregiver burnout is a normal response to caring for a loved one who has a long-term illness. The effects of burnout are similar to feeling depressed.
Remember to eat well, exercise, and get enough rest to help prevent burnout. Learn more about burnout.
When Your Loved One Stays in the Hospital
A loved one staying in the hospital can be very stressful. As a caregiver, you want to be there for your loved one, but you need to take care of yourself, too.
- Remember to rest. Leave the hospital at night and try to sleep so you are refreshed for the next day.
- Eat to keep up your strength. Have regular meals and drink plenty of fluids.
- Know it is OK to spend some time away from the hospital. Do something you enjoy to give your mind a rest.
- Keep in contact with family and friends.
- Be sure to use the many Huntsman Cancer Institute services available for patients and their caregivers. Most of them are free.
Caregiver Wellness: The Daily Dozen
Caregivers who take care of their own well-being can give better care to their loved ones. Here are 12 things the social workers at Huntsman Cancer Institute recommend caregivers ask themselves each day.
- Have I moved or exercised for at least 10 minutes?
- Have I eaten enough nutritious food?
- Have I taken a bath or shower?
- Have I slept at least 5 hours in a reasonably comfortable bed or taken a restorative nap?
- Have I talked to at least one adult about how I am doing and not just about my loved one?
- Have I laughed?
- Have I spent at least 10 minutes of meditation, prayer, or quiet thought?
- Have I set and met a few practical goals such as doing the dishes or walking the dog?
- Have I looked or been outside or had some exposure to sunshine?
- Have I had positive physical contact with my loved one not related to caregiving such as hugging or holding hands?
- Have I let others help me?
- Have I named one good thing that has happened or been grateful for something in my day that is going okay?