An in-depth wellness guide from Helen Carter as she talks about the many different aspects of living with cancer, from your mental and physical health to finding the right support.
Living with cancer can take an enormous toll on a person, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You may be worried about paying your medical bills or about making sure your family is well taken care of in the event that your health suddenly declines. You may be in pain and having to cope with treatment, which can often be as painful as the illness itself. However cancer affects you, it’s important to remember that you need to take care of yourself, both for the sake of your physical health and your ability to remain mentally strong.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can achieve this, as self-care is simply anything that makes you feel good in a healthy way. Some people use exercise to boost their mood, while others look for relaxing activities that they enjoy to ease their stress and help them feel in control. Think about how you can focus on yourself, even if it’s only for 15 or 20 minutes per day, and create a good routine that will be easy to follow even when you don’t feel good.
Keep reading for some wonderful tips on how to get there.
It may be difficult to find people to talk to when you’re feeling anxious or scared, in part because a person who has never experienced cancer themselves simply can’t understand the weight of those feelings. Look for a support group specifically for cancer survivors, or talk to a counsellor or therapist who can help you learn to cope with the anxiety and depression you may be feeling. Being able to sort out those emotions and learn how to handle them in any situation will allow you to feel a measure of control, which is so important when you’re living with an illness as life-changing as cancer. For more information on how to handle the negative emotions, go here.
Get Enough Sleep
Many cancer survivors find it difficult to sleep, suffering from insomnia due to pain or stress. It’s important that your body gets enough rest, however, so create a good sleep routine that will help you rest easy. Take a hot shower before bed, drink warm tea, ask your spouse or partner for a relaxing massage, or read a book to relax in the hours before bedtime.
Get Regular Checkups
For many people living with cancer, it can be difficult to separate a simple summer cold from a life-threatening illness, in part because their immune system has been compromised. Even if you feel well, it’s a good idea to get regular checkups if for no other reason than to give yourself peace of mind. Many cancers, such as pancreatic, spread to other organs or don’t have symptoms in the early stages, making it imperative to stay on top of your health.
Because living with cancer can cause so much anxiety and stress, it’s important to learn how to focus on the present by using meditation and breathing techniques to create mindfulness. Leaving the past behind and not worrying about the future can help you feel empowered and strong, especially if you combine these techniques with yoga. Daily exercise can help you feel energised, as well.
Learning to practice self-care when you’re living with cancer can take some time, so don’t push yourself. Start small and work out a plan to help yourself get on track with your diet and exercise routine, as these are often the most difficult tasks for cancer survivors. Treat your body with care and look for ways you can relax. With time, you’ll learn how to feel better on your own terms.
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