Article posted with permission from Cancerwell.org
Living with cancer can drain you physically, emotionally, and mentally. It can take a toll on your well-being in so many ways, from making you feel physically ill to causing worries about what the future holds for your loved ones, and it can be difficult to think about taking care of yourself when you have all those other things on your mind. Yet self-care is vitally important when you are fighting an illness so that you can keep your body and mind sound.
It can be hard to know where to start, but self-care can mean many different things to different people. For you, it may simply be setting aside time out of each day to do something you enjoy, or getting enough exercise to boost your mood and help you feel strong. It might mean changing your sleep routines in order to get better rest, or eating a more well-balanced diet. Whatever self-care means to you, it’s important to practice it as much as possible in order to get the maximum benefit.
Here are a few tips on how to help yourself feel better when you’re living with cancer.
Create a healthy sleep routine
Making sure your body gets enough rest is more than just going to bed at a certain time. If you create a healthy routine–such as using lavender-scented candles to relax, taking a hot shower, and reducing screen-time at least an hour before you go to bed–you can ensure that your body is fully ready to let the stresses of the day go and rest up for tomorrow’s challenges.
Stay in touch with your loved ones
This is especially important if you live far away from the people you love most, or if everyone has a very busy schedule that doesn’t allow for many visits. Make it a point to call your loved ones often, or set up an account with a service like Skype that will allow you to speak and see them at the same time. You might also use social media, such as Facebook, to stay in touch with the people you don’t get to see often.
Educate yourself on addiction prevention
Living with cancer often means living with many different types of medication, some of which can be highly addictive. It’s important to educate yourself on the dangers of these drugs and learn how they react with your body and with other medications. Talk to your doctor about dosage and how to make your medicine work best for you, and never take more than the prescribed amount.
Do things you enjoy
If there’s a hobby you enjoy, such as knitting, gardening, reading, woodworking, or painting, do it as often as possible. Finding ways to bring joy into your daily life will keep you relaxed and happy rather than stressed or anxious, and it will add some calm to your day as well. If there’s nothing in particular that you enjoy practicing, consider looking for a club or group to join in your community, or look online for ideas on what you might like to get into. Think about some things you’ve always wanted to try, such as learning a new language or playing an instrument, and seize the day.
Taking care of yourself can involve many different things, so it’s important to figure out what your needs are and talk to your loved ones about them, as well. Keeping communication open will help you make the most out of each day and will keep you focused on staying well.