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Even if you’re not in a romantic relationship or don’t have a committed partner, you still deserve support. Caring for yourself may be stressful at times but is important to make sure that you have the strength and energy to devote to living and enjoying your time in whatever way you are able. There are many ways to receive the support you need.

Ways to care for yourself and get the support you need

From these suggestions, choose the ones that are most helpful for your situation:

Watch for signs of emotional distress: extreme sadness, crying all the time, constantly worrying, losing interest in what you used to find pleasurable, and not feeling like yourself. If any of these symptoms make it difficult for you to accomplish your daily tasks, speak to a doctor, nurse or social worker.

Listen to friends or family if they notice changes in your mood.

Maintain contact with friends and family. Social isolation can increase emotional distress.

Pick and choose activities that are most important to you, especially if you get tired easily.

Don’t be afraid to say no to certain activities if you are trying to conserve your energy for projects you want to accomplish.

Try to give yourself a few minutes each day for quiet reflection, prayer or meditation if that is a comfort to you.

Eat small meals throughout the day. Do not worry if it is not a full meal. Eat foods that appeal to you. If you are not hungry, let your caregiver or family know.

Drink water regularly.

Discuss your feelings and thoughts with a spiritual leader.

Do not be alarmed if you find yourself angry or wondering about your beliefs.

Reviewing your spiritual concerns and values is a normal activity when you have a serious illness, after a crisis or at the end of life.

What will help me regain a sense of control?

When someone’s illness is progressing, it is common to feel overwhelmed, hopeless and afraid. Taking care of finances and legal documents can help with this anxiety. Here are some practical ways to regain a sense of control:

  • Organize your important financial and legal papers.
  • Explain to your family where these documents are kept.
  • Name a person whom you want to oversee your daily business once you are no longer able to do so.
  • Finalize advance directive documents.
  • Write a will explaining to whom and where you want your material possessions to go.
  • Create an ethical will (see our fact sheet on “Creating an Ethical Will”).
  • Pre-plan a funeral or memorial service.

Edited by Lucia Fanjul, LMSW

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This fact sheet is made possible by Bristol Myers Squibb.

Last updated Sunday, May 8, 2022

The information presented in this publication is provided for your general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are aware of your specific situation. We encourage you to take information and questions back to your individual health care provider as a way of creating a dialogue and partnership about your cancer and your treatment.

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