MEETING YOUR OWN NEEDS

Finding Support for You

The combination of emotional stress, your regular work, and added activities around the home can take a toll on you. You can’t afford to exhaust yourself physically or emotionally. No matter how well you think you are handling the situation, you will benefit both you and the woman you love by finding a support person for yourself. A friend, another family member, a religious leader, or a professional counselor who can help you verbalize any feelings and thoughts that you don’t want to share with your partner at this particular time.

This support person will help you sort it all out, and work on a plan of action. Talking to other partners of women with breast cancer and participating in support groups can also give you concrete ideas on how to cope. Seeking this form of support for you is not a sign of weakness, but of your wisdom.

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Dealing with the Workload

As the primary support person, you will have a major role in keeping up with your family’s daily activities during a difficult time. There will be times when you may feel overwhelmed by the entire burden. Before that occurs, sit down with your partner and make plans:

• Make a list of tasks that need to be done on a daily basis (food preparation, child care). Try to concentrate on activities that really are essential, and put off the unnecessary niceties.

• As people contact you and ask “How can I help?” give them specific tasks that will be truly helpful for you and your partner.

• If you have the financial means, you may want to hire help. Even having someone a few hours a week can ease the situation.

• If you have children, get them more involved in the daily activities. Even young children can be given simple tasks to do around the house, like picking up their toys or setting the dinner table. Actively participating in daily activities gives them a way to cope with their own fears.