Taking care of myself when my brother or sister has cancer

While you, and everyone else, are worried about your sister or brother it is really important that you find ways to look after yourself and make some time for you too.

It’s not selfish – if you don’t take care of yourself then you can’t take care of anyone else. You’ll need all your strength to help your family get through the tough times.

Taking care of your body

The basics:

  • Eat well throughout the day. Your body needs the right fuel – regularly – to keep running.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Sounds simple, but easier said than done, with everything else going on in your life right now.

Taking care of your mind

What goes on in your head can have a huge impact on happens in your body. Stress does weird stuff to you, so taking care of your mind is really important.

  • Take time to chill with your friends.
  • Deal with the small stuff so that you don’t spend time and energy worrying about it.
  • Talk to people about how you are feeling.
  • Write your thoughts and feelings down.
  • Laugh.
Things that won’t help
  • Behaving badly or doing risky things. Swearing, biting your parent’s head off, skipping school, driving too fast/recklessly and isolating yourself from friends are ‘unhealthy’ outlets for frustration and stress.
  • Using drugs, alcohol or smoking might seem like a way to block out the hard feelings. But it can actually make the stresses of cancer even harder to deal with. After a drugs or drinking session lots of people feel really down for days afterwards. This can make everything feel a little bit harder.
  • Hurting yourself or others. It’s normal to feel p*ssed off. But there are safe ways to vent it without taking it out on yourself or others. If you hurt yourself, or have before and are worried you may do it again, tell someone you trust. There are lots of things that can help, including talking to a counsellor.