Staying Healthy While You Provide Care for Someone with Cancer

Photo of a woman sleeping

Getting enough sleep isn’t a luxury—you need it for good health. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.

You do many things to help take care of your loved one with cancer. Stress from these demands can cause health problems, including sleep problems and appetite changes. You may feel anxious, depressed, or even lonely. About half of caregivers don’t get enough restful, continuous sleep, making them feel tired and leading to a poor quality of life.

It’s important for you to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Ways to Stay Physically Healthy

  • Don’t use tobacco. If you smoke, try to quit. Stay away from other people’s smoke.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active.
  • Get enough restful sleep.
  • Get health checkups regularly.
  • Get a flu shot every year.
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine and any booster doses to stay up-to-date.

Ways to Stay Mentally and Emotionally Healthy

  • Feeling overwhelmed? Try to arrange for respite care. Respite care is temporary care given to a person who is unable to care for himself or herself, so the person’s usual caregivers can have a break. If you’re having trouble finding someone to help, ask your loved one’s health care team about community resources.
  • Reach out to family members, friends, those who share your faith, or a support group for emotional support.
  • Worried about money? Many caregivers provide financial support, reduce their work hours, or even quit their job to care for their loved one. See our list of resources that may be able to help.
  • Stay active. Regular physical activity can lower your risk for depression.
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