A cancer diagnosis is one of the most overwhelming experiences in life. This diagnosis not only affects the person directly, but their family and friends as well. Here are five tips for how to best support a loved one after they receive a cancer diagnosis.
Listen and Validate Emotions: Regardless of how you may feel about your loved one’s diagnosis, it’s important to listen without judgment or offering advice. Let them know that it’s okay for them to express their feelings and validate whatever emotion comes up for them. The best way you can help your loved one right now is to provide a listening ear and let them know that their feelings are valid.
Offer Practical Assistance: Offer practical assistance such as grocery shopping, cooking meals, or providing rides to doctor appointments or chemotherapy treatments – these tasks can pile up quickly and become overwhelming for someone going through treatment. You don’t have to take on all of these tasks yourself; delegate tasks out among other family members or friends who want to help out as well – this will lighten the load and make it easier for everyone involved.
Don’t Try To ‘Fix’ Anything: As much as we want our loved ones’ pain to go away, we cannot fix their cancer journey – no matter how much we would like too! Instead, focus on being present and offer emotional support by letting your loved one know that you are there for them no matter what happens along the way – even if you don’t have all the answers. This alone is incredibly powerful.
Educate Yourself About Their Diagnosis: Learning more about your loved one’s specific type of cancer can be beneficial in understanding what they’re going through and being able to better support them throughout their treatment process. Researching potential side effects from treatments, information about different types of therapies, and any other relevant information will help you stay informed while supporting your loved one every step of the way.
Take Time For Self-Care: Finally, it’s essential that you practice self-care during this process so that you can be there with full presence for your friend or family member during their cancer journey – whether that means taking regular breaks from caregiving responsibilities or finding an activity outside of caregiving where you can relax and recharge (e.g., yoga). Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others!
By following these five tips, you can provide emotional support to loved ones in a meaningful way while also making sure you find some time for yourself along the way; both are key components in being able to effectively show up for someone going through something challenging like a cancer diagnosis.