When your loved one first received their mesothelioma diagnosis, it was likely an overwhelming moment. Suddenly, you had to consider their newly-shortened lifespan and how you could support them through treatment and their own mental health struggles.
Now, after supporting your loved one through the first part of their treatment, you may be starting to feel burnt out. The initial enthusiasm to help might be replaced with exhaustion.
Here’s why caring for yourself helps you care for your loved one.
Putting on your own mask
Every time you get on a flight, there is the reminder that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. The principle makes sense on the airplane but can be challenging to apply in everyday life on the ground.
When you are trying to support your loved one, it can be easy to get so involved in caring for them that you forget to care for yourself. You start to lose your identity in the process of caring for your friend or family member.
It is essential to find ways to make time for yourself. You can talk to other friends and family members about coordinating breaks so that everyone gets some time to themselves. If your loved one needs constant care, consider contacting a respite service to provide temporary support.
Making the most of small breaks
There might be times when you are caring for your loved one with mesothelioma that you only get a small break. While you may, eventually, need to find a way for more time to recharge, you can maintain your mental health by taking advantage of small breaks, too. Small breaks are good opportunities to do self-care activities, such as:
- Reading or journaling
- Taking a walk
- Calling a friend
You can also take these moments to consider the best ways to reconnect with yourself.
Often, when loved ones start to get burnt out caring for a friend or family member, the relationship can begin to suffer. When you take time to care for yourself, you may find it easier to provide care for your loved one.