Finding Peace with Cancer by Helen Carter
Finding Peace with Cancer Through Self-Care and Spiritual Wellness
Maintaining quality of life is a very real struggle for many cancer patients, and often seems elusive in the face of debilitating symptoms. Fortunately, incorporating self-care strategies and promoting spiritual wellness in your life can help offset negative emotions and give you the energy you need to live more fully each day. Take a look at some of the following ideas, and adopt some self-care practices that work for you.
Exercise to Strengthen Your Body
Most cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation experience fatigue, making it difficult for them to engage in the activities they enjoy. Although it’s good to let your body rest and heal during treatment, the American Cancer Society recommends that patients be as physically active as they can. Regular exercise can help you avoid blood clots, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, nausea, and feelings of anxiety and depression. Check out this article for some great exercise ideas that are catered to people fighting cancer.
Get a Therapy Dog
Dogs can have a very meaningful impact on people with cancer, helping patients cope during diagnosis, treatment, and their return to normal life following recovery. First of all, dogs provide valuable social support. Cancer patients who spend time with therapy dogs report better emotional and social well-being than those that don’t. Dogs have also been found to lower stress, encourage physical activity, and produce a mood-enhancing endorphin release in humans.
Minimize Treatment Side Effects with Healthy Eating
According to Chemocare, malnutrition is a common problem for cancer patients since chemotherapy can cause a loss of appetite. However, becoming malnourished can result in delayed treatment success and exacerbate feelings of fatigue. Even if you aren’t hungry, aim to eat at least three meals per day, plus a few healthy snacks. You want to focus on nutrient- and calorie-dense foods to support your healing body.
Find Your Version of Spiritual Wellness
Spirituality can help cancer patients find meaning in their lives, enabling them to better cope with their condition. A spiritual connection tends to give people increased optimism and a better sense of peace in the face of cancer. Finding spiritual comfort will be unique to you, so don’t shrug it off just because you don’t practice religion or believe in a power beyond yourself. Spiritual practices that can help you cope include praying, meditation, reading self-help books, and listening to spiritual music or podcasts.
Pick Up a Relaxing and Expressive Hobby
Hobbies are a great way to support your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Pick an activity that’s both meditative and creative to help you relax your mind and express your feelings. Some meditative hobbies, like gardening, fishing, and photography, can help you get outside for fresh air and encourage some light physical activity. Other relaxing hobbies can be taken with you to chemo treatments, such as knitting, beading, model-making, and reading.
One of the most important things to remember about self-care is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all science. What works for one person may not feel right to you, and vice versa. So, it’s important to try out different activities and strategies until you find those that promote wellness in your own life.
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