3 Beneficial Self-Care Tips for Cancer Patients
Guest Blogger: Rufus Carter | RECOVERINGWORKS.COM
A cancer diagnosis is scary, but once the fear has settled and you’re ready to begin treatment, you quickly realize just how much time you will dedicate to it. Chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, and check-ups are all part of your treatment, but don’t let it become such a large part of your life that you forget to take care of yourself.
Self-care is important not only to maintain your health and strength, but it can also help you maintain some sort of normalcy when it feels as though you are no longer in control of your life. Author, motivational speaker, and business owner Nacole Ali presents three beneficial self-care tips for cancer patients that can help improve their health and keep them moving forward with a positive attitude.
Break Away from the Mundane
Your calendar is filled with appointments, but this doesn’t mean medical scenery is your absolute new normal. It’s okay to take a break from the doctor’s office for a change of pace and outlook. You might not be able to or feel well enough to pick up and travel far due to treatment, but you can have a staycation in the area with family members and friends at a vacation rental. The bottom line is that you don’t have to leave to get a change of scenery. Sit in your backyard, turn your phone off for the day, bake a new recipe, or enjoy a relaxing activity you haven’t been able to devote much time to.
Find Ways to Relax
Cancer is stressful and it can feel like your brain is going 90 miles an hour and being constantly bombarded with information. Find a way to relieve stress that not only works but is also something you enjoy. Try guided meditation to start and end your day via apps, podcasts, and videos. Wherever you are, find a quiet, comfortable spot away from the noise, focus on your breathing, shut down your mind, and follow along with the guide. Try adding some plants or pictures of nature to this space, as they’re both shown to help aid in relaxation. At-home aromatherapy can be a relaxing experience as well, whether you choose to use essential oils and relaxing scents via a bath, lotion, or room mist. Acupuncture has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help with cancer-related fatigue and pain and treatment symptoms such as nausea. Set up an acupuncture appointment, and perhaps take your self-care a step further by getting a relaxing massage, facial, or even just a pedicure.
Don’t Skimp on the Basics
Self-care includes the basics too, one of which is nutrition. Loss of appetite is common during cancer treatment, which tends to lead to weight loss and malnutrition. Your body needs the calories from food to keep your energy up and immune system firing on all cylinders, so try to maintain a steady diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and water. Think of eating as part of your treatment to avoid the temptation to skip. A metal taste in your mouth is a common side effect of chemotherapy, making eating that much less appetizing, but you can reduce it by using plastic utensils, chewing sugar-free gum, using herbs and spices, and simply eating what tastes good no matter how unfamiliar it is.
Another basic need to prioritize is sleep. Say “no” to visitors when needed, take naps if you can, stick to a regular bedtime, and most importantly, talk to your doctor about your issues with sleep, as it could be a treatable sleep disorder.
When cancer enters the picture, it can feel like someone hit the fast-forward button. Information is coming from all sides — and you’re juggling appointments on top of it all. No matter what, hit the pause button and make time for yourself.
For an inspirational read about one woman’s battle with breast cancer, check out Warrior: Built to Last by Nacole Ali. You can learn more by visiting her website.