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looking after yourself


When you’re supporting someone with cancer, it’s important to find ways to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. It might seem difficult to find time for your own needs, but it will help you and the people around you. 

small things can make big differences


Little things like leaving the hospital for a walk, going home for a shower and sleep, or just getting a coffee can help. Here are some other ways to take care of yourself: 

  • Eat well – food might not seem important right now and it’s tempting to grab whatever’s easiest, but a good diet is still important for your health and making sure you have energy
  • Sleep – get as much as possible. Grab it wherever you can and don’t feel guilty. Rest is important
  • Get a support team together – friends and family can help in so many ways. Don’t be afraid to delegate to them, and most will be grateful to be able to help
  • Laugh – whenever possible, and as much as possible. At first this might be very difficult, but finding the funny side in things is surprisingly important in tough situations, and black humour is completely acceptable.
  • Give yourself a break. Remember that you are not superhuman – you can’t do everything and you certainly don’t have to do it right now. You can always put it on a list for later.
  • Talk, share and learn – join a support group with other people who have been in similar situations. Redkite runs regular phone-based support groups, so you can participate from anywhere.
  • Write it down – recording how you feel can help make sense of things and clear your mind.
  • Try mindfulness exercises   if you don't like the idea of writing things down, mindfulness can quiet busy thoughts for a little bit. Cancer Advisor has one mum's review of five different mindfulness apps that can help you get started. 
  • Bring your hobby or work to hospital – waiting is easier if you have something to fill the time like reading, writing emails, craft, cards, board games, or even sorting through all the photos on your computer.

the most important way to support yourself


The most important thing you can do is to ask for help from whoever you think can provide you with the best support at the time. It might be your partner, family, friends, the medical team, your hospital social worker, or even someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.


As always, the Redkite support team are here to talk with you by phone, email and in person. 

Last updated September 2015.