When you’re diagnosed with cancer, it can be hard to focus on the positives. You may find yourself overwhelmed with negative thoughts and stress. How are you going to cope with this diagnosis? What is your future going to look like? While you struggle during this time, it’s important to keep in mind that you have to take care of yourself while you go through cancer treatment. Practicing self-care will help you have peace of mind and improve your overall well-being through recovery. Below, we’ve listed six ways you can practice wellness when going through the process of treating cancer.
Meditation can provide you a lot of benefits while you go through cancer treatment. It only takes a few minutes once a day, but meditation can reduce stress, improve mental health, and improve your overall quality of life. All of these benefits are reported from cancer patients who regularly practiced meditation. Meditation can help you stay in the moment and focus your energy on the positive aspects of your life, rather than worrying about things you can’t change. Keep your mind at ease and practice meditation alongside your cancer treatment.
Keep Your Home Clean
Although cleaning your home might be a chore that keeps creeping down the list of things you need to take care of, ridding your home of irritants, pollutants, and harmful airborne particles is essential to protecting your weakened immune system. If you don’t have the energy to tackle this chore yourself, consider bringing in a cleaning service to ensure everything stays tidy and comfortable while you go through treatment. In Portland, this will usually run you between $114 and $257. Not only will your home be healthier, but it will also feel more comfortable and relaxing. While you’re at it, make sure you keep the air filters changed on the regular, which is generally every three months (every two months if you have pets). Also, sometimes it’s helpful to match the air filter to the manufacturer of your unit. This will ensure your unit has exactly the right type of filter to run efficiently and effectively.
Safe Pain Medication Use
Depending on the type of cancer you’re suffering from, one of the side effects you may experience is pain. Some cancer patients are prescribed opioids to help them manage this pain while they go through treatment, but sometimes addiction to pain medication can happen. If you’re concerned about becoming addicted to your prescription meds, start by taking a small dose and then increase your consumption if necessary. Prevent addiction by only getting an opioid prescription from one doctor, as opposed to a couple different doctors. Always take your meds as directed. If you start to feel yourself becoming dependent on your painkillers, let your doctor know right away. They can help you find an alternative to help manage the pain.
Are you aware of all the emotional and psychological effects of cancer? It’s important to educate yourself so you know what to expect. Everyone handles the news of a cancer diagnosis differently. Whether you’re dealing with disbelief, guilt, depression, anxiety, or feelings of isolation, know that you’re not alone. There are support groups you can lean on when things get difficult, including family members or friends. Research cancer support groups in your area.
Journaling through your cancer treatment can be very cathartic. Writing down your thoughts on paper about your diagnosis and recovery can help you focus on what you’re thinking and keep you in the moment. When you’re going through cancer treatment, opening up to even your closest friends or family can be difficult. However, having a journal — whether on paper or on your phone — that you can pour all of your feelings into will help you get through it a little easier. It can help put things into perspective when you’re feeling down.
Eat Healthy Foods
While you go through cancer treatment, eating food may be difficult, especially if you have nausea from chemotherapy. During that time, try to eat a healthy diet. That will help settle your stomach and provide you with the energy you need to get through the day. Once you’re done with treatment, you should still stick to a healthy diet that is high in nutrients, minerals, vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates. Avoid any foods that are high in fat or sugar. Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Healthy foods can help keep infections at bay while you undergo various types of cancer treatment. If you’re having trouble with eating the right foods, it’s worth looking into nutrition therapy. It may be covered by your health insurance; seniors who have a Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage plan through a provider like United Healthcare can access nutritional therapy through health management programs if they qualify and are referred by a doctor.
Self-care while going through your cancer treatment is important. Remember to eat a healthy diet, exercise, address the emotional and psychological side effects, and don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family during this difficult process.
- Guest post by Scott Sanders of cancerwell.org