For many cancer survivors, everyday activities can be a struggle. Not only is there often physical pain to contend with, but there is also emotional and mental anxiety that can make focusing on chores and other responsibilities difficult. It’s not always easy to know the best ways to move forward after a cancer diagnosis; you want someone to hand you a map with the right path highlighted, but unfortunately, there is no one right way to live with cancer.
You can, however, practice self-care and focus on your own spiritual wellness in order to help yourself get through the most trying times. This can mean many different things to different people, but it boils down to doing what makes you feel happy, calm, and relaxed in a healthy way and reducing stress. Your mental health and physical health are linked, which means it will be next to impossible to improve the way your body feels if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress overload.
Here are a few tips on how to practice self-care and overall wellness.
Learn How to Cope
Many individuals who are diagnosed with cancer find that they’re prone to anxiety and depression, and they often experience difficulty adjusting to all the changes that the disease brings. You may be worried about not just your physical health but what things will be like once you start treatment or how your family dynamic might change. A recent study showed that one in three cancer patients suffer from a mental health disorder simply because a diagnosis can be such a huge burden to carry, in every way. Learning how to cope with your feelings and how to handle anxiety in the moment will be extremely beneficial as you navigate your diagnosis. You might practice yoga and meditation, which will help you learn mindfulness, or talk to a therapist about the best ways to battle anxiety and stress in daily situations. For more info on how cancer affects your emotional and mental state, click here.
Do Things You Enjoy
Living with cancer is hard enough without worrying about wasting your time on activities you don’t truly enjoy, so make every moment count. Practice a favorite hobby, take a trip to someplace you’ve never been, have a campout with your grandchildren. Attend a church service or research different religious practices and beliefs. If it’s not something that brings joy or peace to your life, get rid of it.
Try Something New
Sometimes, removing yourself from the stress of your diagnosis can be the best thing to help you cope with it. Some people do better with a routine, but if you’re feeling up to it, change things up a bit and try something new. You don’t have to completely switch around your schedule — which might only make you feel uncomfortable — in order to take your mind off things. Start small, such as learning a new language or taking a cooking class.
Living with cancer can be emotionally draining, and it can come with a variety of feelings, from anger to denial to hopelessness. It’s important to have a good support system in place so you can vent your frustrations, a place where you feel safe and comforted when it’s been a bad day. Talk to your loved ones and friends about your needs and consider seeking counseling for your immediate family members so that everyone will be on the same page.
Learning how to manage your expectations and your feelings can help you stay strong during the most difficult times, and that’s part of self-care. Create a routine that will help you feel comfortable and in control of your body, mind, and soul in order to boost your emotional, physical, and mental health.
This article was written by Scott Sanders, He is the creator of CancerWell.org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer.