About my blog: I’ve written two sections for each blog post; Nurse Talk and Survivor Speak. Each post describes thoughts and perspectives I have gained over the years from working as an oncology nurse and from being a cancer patient. My desire is that these posts will be both informative and inspirational for health care professionals and cancer patients alike. It is from these experiences and hope that I have drawn to write my book Both Sides of the Bedside
Self-care means something different to everyone, but when you’re living with an illness such as cancer, it’s important to remember that your overall wellness includes your physical and mental health. Taking steps to ensure that your body and mind are in good shape will help you feel better, and you’ll be better able to cope with stress or anxiety. Because many individuals living with cancer also deal with depression, it’s crucial to find ways to lift your spirits from day to day. Whether this means staying social with friends and loved ones or helping yourself stay relaxed by getting massages, learning how to boost your overall wellness will benefit you every day.
It’s also important to talk to your loved ones and keep communication open about your needs so that they can help you from day to day. That may mean asking them to help with household chores so you can rest, or letting them know what the best diet is for your needs so you can eat healthy meals each day. Think specifically about what will help you feel the best, and keep reading for some tips on how to get started.
In both these examples, life didn’t unfold the way these people had anticipated; however they celebrated the things that were important to them in a different way.
Make Nutrition a Priority
When you’re fighting an illness as invasive as cancer, it’s important to make sure your nutrition is on point. Eating the right foods can help you stay balanced and boost your energy, so it’s worth it to speak to a professional who can help you work out the best diet for your needs. If you have Medicare, do a little research to find out what kind of help you can get through their programs.
Look for Positive Touch
Because many types of cancer are very hard on the body, it can be helpful to introduce positive touch into your life. This means massages, hand massages, hair brushing, and any other kind of touch you’re comfortable with that will help you relax. Just be sure you read up on massage for cancer survivors, as some forms of touch could cause bruising or contribute to blood clots. You should also look for soft, comfortable clothing and bedding, especially if you’re having trouble getting good sleep at night. Sometimes certain medications can interfere with rest and can alter your body temperature, so try to stick with cool, breathable cottons.
Speaking of Sleep…
Your mind and body both need lots of rest, and there are several easy things you can do to your environment to help your sleep along each night. Painting the walls a cool, calming color, improving the air quality with a purifier, and removing devices that emit blue light — such as televisions, smartphones, and computers — can all help you relax and get a better quality of sleep. You can also use blackout curtains or blinds to keep the sun from waking you too early.
Talk to Someone
Whether you make an effort to keep communication open with your friends and loved ones about your needs or you seek out a counselor or therapist who can help you cope with your illness, it’s important to talk about what you’re going through during this time in your life. Even the smoothest treatments can be physically and emotionally difficult to go through, and you may be suffering from stress or anxiety about medical bills or other issues. Talking about your feelings and worries can help you get through a trying time a bit easier.
Living with cancer can be hard on you in many different ways, so the more you can do to focus on your well-being, the better off you’ll be. Remember that there are several things you can do to help yourself relax, and doing so will, in turn, allow you to cope a little easier. With a few small changes and some help from your loved ones, you’ll be able to make yourself a priority.