Ways to manage your emotions

For many carers, it is hard to find the time or energy to look after their own emotional wellbeing. However, some simple strategies can help you feel more in control.

Clear your mind

Try listening to Cancer Council’s online relaxation and meditation recordings. They are also available as CDs – call 13 11 20 to request copies. You could also try a local yoga or tai chi class.

Get moving

Regular exercise has been shown to help with feelings of anger, stress, anxiety and depression. Remember that some exercise is better than none, and even a brisk walk around the block can help clear your head.

Take a break

It is important to take time to care for yourself. Do something you find relaxing such as listening to music, reading, taking a bath or having a massage. Respite care is available for short or longer periods and may give you the break you need.

Talk it over

Share your concerns with the person you care for, or with someone else you trust. Another option is to call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or Carers Australia 1800 242 636 to talk to someone about how you are feeling. They can listen to your concerns without judgement and help you find further support if you need it. You can also call Lifeline 13 11 14 for crisis support at any time of day or night.

Speak to your doctor

If at any stage you feel that you are not coping, your GP can refer you to a counsellor and prescribe a short course of medicine if needed.

Find out what to expect

Information can help you understand what to expect, and plan for any changes. This may make you feel more secure.

Be kind to yourself

No-one is a “perfect” carer. It is often a demanding role and everyone has bad days. Try to avoid using the words “should” or “must”, and accept that you are doing the best you can.

Join a support group

There are face-to-face, internet and telephone support groups for carers. These groups meet regularly to share their experiences. See Support and Information for more information about support groups.

Connect online

Use technology such as email, Facebook or a blog to stay in touch with family and friends. You can also visit Cancer Council Online Community to connect with others in a similar situation.

Accept help

If you appear to manage on your own, people may assume you’re okay, but they often do want to help. Reduce your workload by accepting help with practical tasks such as shopping or housework.

Listen to podcasts on Cancer Affects the Carer Too and How to Help Someone with Cancer

This information was last reviewed in September 2017
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Support services

Support for carers
Cancer Council NSW offers support online, over the phone and in person and can link you to our practical support services

Cancer Council Online Community
A supportive online community for people affected by cancer, including family, friends and carers

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Emotions and cancer
Suggestions for coping with the diagnosis and treatment, as well as how to get support

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends