Living with cancer can be a daily struggle for many people; you may find it difficult to sleep or eat well, or it may be hard to manage the pain. Learning how to cope with these things — as well as with stress, anxiety, and depression — can take some time, but it’s important to do so. Building up your physical and mental health is so important during this time, as is boosting your confidence and self-esteem. Practicing self-care can help you feel relaxed and more like yourself, and the good news is that it can be done almost anywhere, at any time.
Self-care is multi-faceted, meaning it’s really dependent on your needs. You might decide to treat yourself to a monthly massage or make time to sit down with a good book. You may find that having a workout routine is the thing that helps you get through a rough day or that practicing a hobby takes your mind off things for a while. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and healthy, doing it often will allow you to feel better both physically and mentally.
Here are some great tips for practicing self-care when you’re living with cancer.
Find Coping Techniques that Work for You
There are inevitably going to be times when you feel overwhelmed, so it’s important to come up with strategies that will help you combat stress when those moments arise. One great practice is doing gentle stretches, like the ones outlined in this infographic, which are gentle enough for when you’re feeling ill and can be done in a seated or supine position. You may also find it helpful to practice meditation when you feel your stress begin to build; even just a five-minute session can do wonders. Both of these activities can be done just about anywhere, and will ease your anxiety, relax you, and give you a much-needed mood boost.
Turn Your Home Into a Sanctuary
Making your home as comfortable and relaxing as possible is important for your well-being, so it’s a good idea to find simple ways to turn it into a place of rest and calm. You might change up the lighting to create a more relaxed atmosphere or create a space solely for meditation/yoga. Such a space is important because it gives you a respite from the worries and stresses of daily life and allows you to leave them at the door.
Get Good Rest
Adequate rest is imperative when you’re living with cancer — not only the amount, but also the quality. Turn your bedroom into a cozy retreat with soft blankets, blackout curtains to keep the harsh sun away, and no television or devices to distract you. Make sure your bedroom is used mainly for sleeping so you can get the best rest possible, and take naps on the days you feel depleted.
Spend Time with Your Loved Ones
Spending time with your loved ones is great for your mental and emotional health, so do it as often as you can. If you have children, think of some fun things you can do as a family on the weekends, such as camping in the backyard or watching a good movie with a variety of snacks. Plan out your activities for the least amount of stress possible, and look for ways you can get active together.
Practice a Hobby
If you have a hobby that makes you feel calm and relaxed, do it as often as possible. Studies have shown that hobbies help us take a break from the world for a bit, boost our self-esteem and mental health, and help structure the day in a healthy way. Whether it’s making art, playing a sport, reading, writing, gardening, or cooking, doing something you enjoy for a little while every day can help you feel more in control of the things that are going on around you — another essential for those living with cancer.
Living with a disease like cancer can take a toll on your body, mind, and soul, so it’s important to find ways to feel good every day. Remember that this process is a very personal one; what works for one person may not work for another, so do things that are specific to your needs and goals. Garner support from friends and family, and keep stress at a minimum so that you can get the most out of each day.