3 Self-Care Steps You Can Take for Better Wellness During Cancer Treatment

By Scott Sanders, Cancer well .org

Have you recently been diagnosed with cancer? Looking for ways to keep your body and mind strong through treatment? Cancer can deplete your health and affect your emotions, but chemo can be challenging to deal with as well. That’s why you need a little extra self-care to help you push through the pain and discomfort. Here are a few ways you can soothe your body, mind and soul during cancer treatment. Seek Nutritional Advice to Help Your Body Heal It’s always important to nourish your body and soul with healthy food. When dealing with cancer, nutrition is even more paramount to your physical and mental health. Eating the right foods can help you feel better and keep your body strong through treatment, so it may be worthwhile to consult a professional nutritionist. If you’re a senior, and worried about the expense, know that Medicare typically covers nutrition therapy in some way, but your exact coverage depends on your specific plan. A nutritionist can develop a daily meal plan that will compliment your treatment. Some diet questions you may want to ask include what food you need to eat to maintain a healthy weight and what foods can enhance your treatment. Your nutritionist may also be able to suggest certain foods to alleviate symptoms of pain and discomfort. For example, foods that fight nausea can be useful to have at home for relief after chemo treatments. So keep things like ginger ale or ginger chews, crackers and broth handy while you are going through chemo. Boost Your Self-Confidence for Better Mental Health So many of the side effects of cancer and chemotherapy are ones you can feel. Often times though, it’s the visible side effects that have the most impact on your mental health. Cancer can alter your physical appearance in a number of ways. You may lose a bit of hair (although some chemo does not cause hair loss), your skin can change and you may end up with scars from surgery. All too often, healthcare providers fail to address the impact these physical changes have on the self-esteem of their patients. If you are dealing with hair loss, or any other effects, know that it’s okay to be upset. It’s also okay to look for ways to improve your appearance and boost your self-esteem. This can include looking for richer skincare products or shopping for wigs. If you do opt for a wig, shop around to get one that’s not only comfortable but that will also help you look and feel your best. High quality lace wigs are available in real or synthetic hair and have a gradual hairline that mimics the appearance of real hair. Care for Your Mind and Body With Gentle Physical Activity Boosting your appearance and confidence can enhance your mood during treatment. For a major boost to your mental health, you can also try to get more exercise. Harvard researchers have found that exercise can fight feelings of depression, which are fairly common for those dealing with cancer. Plus, physical activity has been shown to relieve pain, which can be beneficial for your mental and physical well-being during your treatment. What exercises can you do while working through chemo? Suggested exercises include moderate cardio activities, like swimming or walking, as well as regular strength training. Yoga can help strengthen your body and nurture your soul as well. Not up for a trip to the gym? Consider hiring a personal trainer to help you complete your workouts at home. In addition to comfort and convenience, working with a trainer will also help you develop the best physical fitness plan to fit your unique needs and keep your body in top shape. Maintaining a positive outlook can be challenging when dealing with the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of cancer and cancer treatment. Practicing self-care, whether it’s staying active or eating healthy, can make things easier. So make self-care an integral part of your treatment so you can heal better and feel happier during this difficult time. Photo Credit: Unsplash






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