Coping with a cancer diagnosis can be one of the most stressful experiences of someone’s life and it is important to recognize that self-care during cancer is neither self-indulgent nor selfish. It’s about taking care of yourself (or anyone with cancer) no matter what stage they are at.
There’s absolutely no right way to cope and deal with cancer and no best self-care ideas. It’s about determining what’s best for you. It sometimes means cozying up on the couch and watching a movie, going for a walk, chatting with loved ones, or spending time by yourself.
This type of self-care is the amount of rest you get, the number of hours you do physical activity, and how you look after your body. Attending appointments with your doctor if needed, taking proper medication, and managing physical health, as much as is relevant, should be the focus of your physical well-being.
Move your body
Regular exercise, where possible, can be good for you. This will depend on where you are with your cancer treatment and what stage your cancer is. Movement can also help you avoid certain forms of cancer developing again. If you’re new to exercising, start slow and build up. Perhaps talk to your doctor or healthcare professional if you are concerned about whether you should be exercising right now.
Certain medications have side effects that affect eating habits and/or may cause, for example, nausea or problems swallowing. And cancer itself can change the appetite too. So cancer patients need to take advice on how to get the goodness of healthy food inside them, when they may not feel up to eating.
Drinking water helps keep the body in balance but it is not always easy to drink a lot if you feel sick, which can be a by-product for patients undergoing cancer treatment. In addition, dehydration is a risk for people undergoing cancer treatment and can be serious and even life-threatening if left untreated. So make sure you keep your water intake up if you can. Having a water bottle always at hand can help with this.
Take your medication as directed
If you have been prescribed medicine for pain or nausea, it doesn’t make sense not to take them and to give yourself a hard time. Cancer and its treatments can all take their toll and no one expects you to suffer more than necessary.