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Caregivers play an important role in supporting their loved one at every stage of the cancer journey. As the needs and symptoms of the cancer patient fluctuate, so do the needs and well-being of the caregiver. Caregivers should be included in routine assessment and care planning.

Care for yourself. Taking care of yourself equals taking care of your loved one. Caregivers sometimes focus so intently on the physical wellbeing of their loved one that they lose sight of their own physical wellness. 
Know your limitations. Caregiving takes a lot of energy and can take a toll on the body. Caregivers who accept that their physical well-being is tied to their ability to care for their loved one, will ensure that they take their own health seriously. 


Stress and eating. Normal routines have changed. Get into a routine of planning meals for yourself to get the nutrition your body needs. 
Unhealthy coping. Over eating, or the use of other addictive substances, can be especially tempting when experiencing intense emotions and feeling stressed. You may want to reach out to a Buddy for support, or a mental health counselor.
Balance. Seek out well balanced meals with recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates. 


Stay hydrated. Caregivers are sometimes given the task of reminding their loved one to drink water as adequate hydration is an essential goal of people undergoing cancer treatment. Commit to drinking just as much water that you’re asking your loved one to drink.
Dehydration. Remember that drinks with caffeine (coffee, soda, tea, etc.) serve to dehydrate the body. Replace with non caffeinated drinks or better yet, water. Reusable water bottles are a great way to stay hydrated.


Stick to the routine. Caregivers should not forgo their exercise routines because of new caregiving duties. One of the best defenses against health ailments is exercise.
Long-term benefits. Since exercise is connected to our energy levels and our mental health, exercise is an essential aspect of caregiving for the long-haul.
Get started. Even a slow walk for 30 minutes may help relieve built up tension in muscles and joints, as well as give you a mental break from the demands of caregiving. 
Be outside. Whenever possible, opt to exercise outside. Many caregivers find benefit in being in nature and getting fresh air. 


Get proper sleep. Without adequate sleep, caregivers cannot expect to provide care in the ways that they intend.
Trouble sleeping? There are many possible sleep problems caused by increases in stress including difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, nightmares or night terrors, or sleeping too much. If these issues persist for longer than a month, you may want to talk with a mental health counselor. 
Sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene can go a long way in helping you get the sleep you need. Sleep hygiene includes going to bed at the same time every night, using the bed only for sleep or sex - refrain from working, reading, watching tv, etc in bed. Avoid overstimulation from electronic devices. 
Sleep therapy. Research has found cognitive behavioral therapy to be more effective than sleeping medications to help with insomnia. If your sleep problems persist, seek out a mental health therapist who can help you get the sleep you need. 

Medical Care

Take care of yourself. It’s common for caregivers to forgo their own medical care when taking on the caregiving role. Unfortunately, this often creates more problems that interfere with the caregiving responsibilities long term.
Put yourself first. Prioritize your routine screenings and follow-up care. Remember, in order to be the caregiver you want to be, you must take care of yourself first. 

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