Let’s keep climbing the cancer healing mountain together this week with 7 ways to practice cancer self-help.
Good morning, lovely you!
I hope your Monday is going well and you have downloaded the Prue’s Place Worksheet and Action Plan from last week. If not, here are the links again.
Worksheet and Action Plan Links:
Let’s discover the true lovely you and find out the best way you can heal. The worksheet I will be sharing with you tomorrow will make you dig deep and help you discover your true self so you can create a healing Action Plan that is unique to you. Stay tuned as we keep climbing the healing mountain together.
I am happily sitting here sipping my tea and watching my little ZuZu be mesmerized by fluttering birds at the feeder. All is well in my world and so I am ready to talk to you about the importance of cancer self-help and self-care.
I know a thing or two about living with cancer and the treatments that go along with this horrid disease. I know that emotions run high and energy runs low, and I know that, all too often, we don’t care for ourselves during a time when we should be putting our own needs first. I mean, if not now, WHEN?
Why Cancer Self-Help and Care During Cancer Treatments is Vitally Important
For most people, the diagnosis of cancer is a shock and causes many emotions to surface. It just suddenly drops on you out of nowhere and, in an instant, your life is changed. From this first instant of diagnosis, your life begins to feel like it is slipping out of your control more and more.
Self-care is a way we can regain a sense of control over our lives and our bodies. Self-care is how we get out of a victim mentality of “why did this happen to me and what’s going to happen next?” and into a proactive self-advocate mentality. We begin to start making decisions and doing what WE feel needs to be done for our own health and sanity.
Something amazing happens when we decide that self-care during cancer treatment should be a priority: We begin to feel stronger and more resilient. Once we recognize that we have a choice and a say in how our needs are met, we begin to get our power back and feel more in charge and hopeful.
Before moving on to some ways you can begin to practice self-care, I want to be VERY CLEAR about something. Self-care is NOT the same thing as self-indulgence. This is not a time to say to yourself, “Well, I’ve got cancer so I’m going to do whatever the hell I feel like,” then proceed to smoke cigarettes and eat nothing but garbage. That line of thinking and acting won’t get you very far, except 6 feet under.
Self-care is about putting your needs first and taking care of yourself. Not having a pity party. It’s about nurturing your body, mind and soul so that real healing can take place. Research has shown that regular self-care practices reduce anxiety and the effects of stress.
7 Ways You Can Practice Self-Care During Your Cancer Treatment
Here are some ways you can begin practicing self-care:
Get Plenty of Rest
You will experience great fatigue from the cancer itself as well as any traditional treatments such as chemo, radiation and prescription meds. It’s important that you don’t chastise yourself for having a lack of energy. You’ve never dealt with this before. You may have been someone who used to go, go, go all of the time. And maybe that is partially why you have been given this wake-up call.
Now is the time to slow down and allow yourself to rest, truly rest.
Your care team will let you know whether exercise is appropriate right now. If you’ve been given the green light, make sure to take some light exercise 3 days a week. Walking outside in the fresh air around nature is one of the best ways to keep your energy levels up and relieve stress. As an added bonus, exercise can often increase your appetite when it is wavering. Just be sure to be gentle with your body and don’t try to do too much.
Your body will tell you exactly what it wants and when. If you are doing chemo, you may notice that your appetite has shifted. You no longer want three large meals a day, but little snacks throughout the day. That is fine. Just make sure you are working with an anti-inflammatory nutritionist to get enough calories in each day with the right macronutrient (protein, fat, carbs) ratio.
Also, make sure to give your body cancer-fighting foods such as healthy, organic fruits and veggies and follow an anti-inflammatory diet. This is NOT the time to treat yourself to ice cream and cupcakes whenever you want. This is your LIFE we are talking about. Treat your body right by giving it nourishing foods that will help your immune system fight cancer.
Protect Your Skin
If you are undergoing chemo, know that it will affect your skin, which is your body’s largest organ. Focus on using gentle products that contain natural ingredients. Avoid overly perfumed soaps and lotions containing too many chemicals. Also, chemo has a tendency to make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to use a natural sunscreen when going out.
Be Honest About Your Feelings
Your cancer journey will be incredibly emotional with many ups and downs. It’s important that you are honest with yourself and others regarding your feelings. Staying connected to family and friends can make a huge difference in your life right now, as can finding the support from other cancer survivors. If you need to talk with a therapist, ask your cancer team for a referral.
Do Things That Make You Happy
Be sure to spend enough time each week doing what brings you joy. Whether that’s gardening, listening to or playing music with others, painting or puzzles, whatever it is, give yourself permission to spend time immersed in your favorite activities.
Ask for Help When You Need it
Sometimes the best way to practice self-care is to let others do for you. Your friends and family want to do something to lighten the load right now, so let them. Be specific in asking for help. You may ask for a ride to a doctor appointment, ask for someone to update your Facebook page, do the laundry or take the kids to the park so you can get a little shut-eye.
I hope that you will be your own advocate and practice self-care during your cancer treatment. You are worth it!
Sending love and light…