As a caregiver, you played a vital role in helping someone navigate his or her cancer journey, which may have been long and difficult. Despite that, you had to remain strong for your loved one as you dealt with your own needs and emotions. While highly fulfilling, your responsibilities may have been all-consuming and even exhausting at times.
If the need for caregiving has now come to an end, you may find yourself struggling to regain a sense of purpose in your life. As you try to move on and establish a new routine, keep in mind that the transition can take some time.
Moving on from your role as a caregiver
The supportive care specialists at Moffitt Cancer Center offer the following tips on how to start a new life chapter after caregiving:
- Take care of yourself. The stress of caregiving may have taken a toll on your health. Schedule a check-up, get some much-needed sleep, resume your exercise routine and take stock of your diet. Also, let go of any bad habits, such as smoking, mindless snacking or drinking alcoholic beverages, which you may have picked up as a coping mechanism.
- Reach out to others. While you focused so much of your time and energy on caregiving, you may have naturally lost touch with some family members, friends and co-workers. Take some steps to rekindle those positive relationships.
- Return to the activities you previously enjoyed. As a caregiver, you may have been too busy to spend time on hobbies and other leisure activities, such as reading, gardening or photography. Now’s the time to reconnect with friends who share your interests, join a new group or try something different.
- Support a cause. In your role as caregiver, you acquired a unique skill set that you can now use to make a true difference for others. Consider offering your time to an organization that supports people with cancer or another cause that is important to you.
- Write about your experience. A journal can provide a private outlet for you to express your feelings, reflect on your caregiving journey and set new goals for yourself.
Moffitt offers a number of specialty services geared toward caregivers. For instance, we sponsor support groups that provide a safe place for caregivers to connect with others who truly understand the unique rewards and challenges of caring for a loved one who has cancer. If you’d like to learn more, contact us at 1-888-663-3488.