How to Cope with Cancer and Practice Self-Care

Cancer changes a lot in one's life. It brings about unexpected challenges, and can take away focus from the importance of self-care. This is a difficult time, but there are ways to prioritize wellness.


What we put into our bodies is so important during cancer treatment. Healthy eating can improve the effectiveness of your treatment, and make you feel better. It's essential that your diet protect you against malnutrition and strengthen your whole being. Your appetite may feel diminished, but you need to be eating regularly through the day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as staying hydrated. Look to foods rich in protein, like eggs, nuts, and beans, along with certain meats like chicken and fish. Vegetables and fruits are also beneficial, so try to make your meals resemble a rainbow. You might take advantage of a local meal or grocery delivery service to make healthier eating more convenient. These can offer nutritious home-cooked meals tailored to your specific needs, and can offer up all the variety you might want at this time. Make sure to read some online reviews.

Stay Active

Being physically active may seem daunting right now, but staying strong is essential during treatment. Before starting any workout regimen, consult with a doctor to see what is most appropriate for you, and what will not put your health at risk. Assuming your doctor approves, you should look to light exercises, including aerobic workouts. Walking is an effective way to achieve this, and you could do it indoors or get some fresh air in your neighborhood or local park. It's versatile enough that you could also perform chores or get some steps in at work. Other aerobic workouts include swimming and jogging, but do what feels best for you. Daily activities like gardening and housework can be excellent supplements. Whatever you choose, don't push yourself hard, and keep plenty of water with you to stay hydrated.

Emotional Self-Care

A cancer diagnosis can be shattering. It can drastically alter the perceptions we have, and undermine the certainties that once gave us comfort. This can lead to conditions like depression, so be on the lookout for red flags. You may be disinterested in long-held passions or socializing with loved ones. If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms, it's wise to inform your care team. Consider journaling your thoughts and feelings, as this may also help you become more aware of worrying signs. You might practice mindfulness to further aid your efforts, find greater inner strength, and enhance spiritual wellness. Meditation is best used in conjunction with other things, but may help you reduce stress and process the emotions you are dealing with. Above all, surround yourself with loved ones. Allow them to be there for you on the good and bad days. Open up to them; let yourself be vulnerable with those who care deeply for you.

Build Your Network

Providing solid emotional support is not the only help you should avail of during treatment. Let's be honest: Self-care has to be balanced with an array of responsibilities—not to mention the countless hospital appointments and those days when you would just rather do nothing at all. Build up a network that can stand in for you when you feel overwhelmed by chores, or when you need to be driven to the doctor. Let loved ones cook or take care of the kids. Involve those around you practically. They want to help, and encouraging them to take up tasks for you may make them feel better, especially if they are feeling powerless right now. Find groups online that can give you advice you could use to lessen the strain in your life, or reach out to your local community. Lastly, don't hold back from your care team. If they can do anything that could let you focus on self-care, don't hesitate to let them know you welcome their assistance.

There is no universal approach to living with cancer, yet much can be done to support yourself, and your healing. Let your body, mind, and spirit strengthen as you progress through your treatment.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

About the Author:

Scott Sanders