Living with cancer takes a toll on the body in many ways: emotionally, mentally, and physically. It can bring pain, stress, anxiety, and fear that can’t be measured, and it can put a strain on work and personal relationships to the point that, sometimes, they break. It’s never easy to know how to cope with a cancer diagnosis; everyone is different, so there is no one right way, and that in itself can be scary and frustrating.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can take care of yourself during this difficult time. It’s important to focus not just on your physical health, but also on the way you feel mentally and emotionally. It’s all connected, so boosting yourself in one area may have positive effects on another. For instance, taking time to fit in some exercise — a simple walk or some yoga — can help relax you and keep you focused on the present moment rather than worrying about the future, which can help you find physical and spiritual balance.
Keep reading for more tips on how to practice self-care after a cancer diagnosis.
Recognize the Effects
Living with cancer can wreak havoc on your mental health and have severe psychological effects, leaving you feeling anxious, depressed, or unable to sleep. When this happens, your entire body is affected, so it’s important to recognize those feelings and seek treatment for them. Some people feel comfortable going to a therapist, while others need medication to help them focus or get some rest. Others prefer to join a support group, where they can talk about their feelings to people who understand. Still, others look for natural supplements to help ease the pain, nausea, and stress/anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis. For example, some people have found success with CBD oil, which helps give the body some much-needed cannabinoids without the high associated with marijuana. Finding the best CBD oil can be tricky, so search online for reviews to help guide you, and talk to your doctor before you begin taking it.
Many individuals who are living with cancer find that they can’t relax or feel true enjoyment because they are anxious or worried about the next doctor’s appointment or a recent diagnosis. While it’s understandable, it’s also imperative to find a way to focus on your body’s needs. Too much stress will only do harm, so take some time every day to practice a calming activity, such as knitting, reading, listening to a podcast you enjoy, painting, or simply snuggling with your pet. Making an effort to relax will help you greatly on the journey to a healthier you.
What you eat can have a profound effect on the way you feel. Many cancer survivors must go through chemotherapy, which can diminish appetite or cause nausea; this can lead to dehydration and extreme weight loss, which will steal your energy and make you feel ill all the time. In order to avoid this, keep small, healthy snacks handy, such as cut-up fruit, nuts, or granola, and fill a reusable water bottle at the beginning of the day so you can keep track of how much you drink.
Spend Time with the People You Love
Making an effort to spend time with the people you love will help you feel like you are prioritizing what really matters, and it will also keep you social and active. Make it a point to choose an activity that everyone enjoys — go for a long walk with the dog after dinner, or pick a movie and make popcorn and snacks — and do it often. Quality time with the people who love you will help you feel better no matter what is going on.
Living with a cancer diagnosis can be scary even at the best of times; learning how to take care of yourself can help immensely. Focus on your mental, physical, and emotional needs so that you can live your best life while reducing the stress and anxiety that come with an illness.
To learn more about cancer-related treatments and advice, visit CancerWell.org.