Scott Sanders is the creator of CancerWell.org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer. He is also the author of the book Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-care and Spiritual Wellness During and After Cancer Treatment, coming Summer 2018!
Practicing Self-Care & Spiritual Wellness During Cancer Treatment
After being diagnosed with cancer, it may seem difficult to focus on yourself, especially when your mind is racing with how you are going to fight this. During one of the hardest times of your life, it’s important to take a moment and practice self-care. This will not only improve your quality of life during treatment, but help you improve your spiritual and mental health when you need it the most.
Make sleep a priority
We spend one third of our lives sleeping, and it plays an important role in making sure our body and mind is rested. This is especially important when you’re going through cancer treatment. Radiology, chemotherapy and other drugs that are fighting cancer can cause you to feel tired and weak. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try coloring in a color book before bed. It can relax your mind and put it at ease. You can also try taking a warm bath or drinking tea to get a good night’s sleep.
Safe use of opioids
Cancer can be painful, depending on the type you have been diagnosed with. In some cases, doctors will prescribe opioids to assist with the pain and provide you with relief. However, it’s important to keep in mind that while opioids can be successful in providing you pain management, they can also be highly addictive. In order to prevent opioid addiction, you have to practice safe use of this medication. If you notice yourself becoming dependent on opioids, or if you have to keep taking more and more to relieve the pain, talk to your doctor. He may be able to prescribe other natural pain relievers that you can try.
Spend time with loved ones
Being diagnosed with cancer can make you feel lonely, especially if no one you know is going through it. That’s why it’s crucial to spend time with loved ones during your treatment. This doesn’t mean you have to do anything crazy like going on a trip or going out on the town. You can simply watch a movie together or read together. Being around people while you’re going through treatment makes all the difference. When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you may also realize how precious life is, and that you actually do have the time to spend with people you care about.
Start a cancer journal
You probably feel a lot of emotions while you’re going through cancer treatment. Whether you’re sad, grateful or determined, writing down your feelings in a journal can help you get through your treatment easier. Expressive writing, or writing that focuses on your thoughts and feelings, has actually been proven to increase the well-being of cancer patients. Some reasons why journaling is beneficial is because you can be open and honest, you can process what you’re going through and it can help put things into perspective. When you start journaling, take just a few minutes every day to write down what you feel, and then build from there.
Practice yoga and meditation
Going through cancer treatment, you may feel lost and defeated. Yoga and meditation can not only enhance your spiritual, mental and physical wellness, but these practices can provide you the peace you need to stay tough through treatment. Yoga is the art of posing and stretching while focusing on your breathing and staying in the moment. Meditation is the art of focusing on your breaths and practicing mindfulness. During chemo or after surgery, it may be hard to recognize your body. Yoga and meditation can help by allowing you to reconnect to your body emotionally and spiritually. These exercises can also greatly improve your quality of life while you fight cancer.