These Are the 3 Most Important Things You Can Do for Yourself While Fighting Cancer
A cancer diagnosis turns life on its head. In the midst of navigating treatment plans and insurance payments, you have to deal with the emotional fallout of your cancer diagnosis and the daily effects that cancer has on your life. Keeping your spirits up and your health intact during this difficult time requires a lot of self-care.
It’s not easy finding the energy for self-care when dealing with the aftermath of cancer treatment, but self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. These are three simple yet impactful things you can do to care for yourself during cancer treatment.
Prioritize Good Sleep
The effects of cancer treatment on sleep feel like a cruel joke: You’re constantly fatigued, but you can’t sleep. About half of all cancer patients experience the symptoms of insomnia. Over time, sleep loss weakens the immune system and your body’s ability to fight cancer.
If pain is keeping you up at night, consider replacing your mattress with one that relieves pressure for a better night’s sleep. According to Slumber Yard, a memory foam mattress, for example, that is designed specifically for your sleeping position offers the most comfort because it aligns your spine while providing cushion where your body needs it most, whether you’re a side, back, or combo sleeper.
If intrusive thoughts keep you from dozing off, try getting more exercise during the day and avoiding caffeine past lunchtime so you’re tired at night. Then, if your mind is racing, use relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises to calm your body and mind.
Eat When and What You Can
Weight loss is common in cancer patients, as nausea, taste changes, and appetite loss make it difficult to eat and drink. If you’re not eating, you’re at risk of malnutrition, which weakens your body and increases your risk of treatment-related complications.
It is possible to get enough calories and nutrients, even when cancer treatment side effects make it hard to eat. Since most patients can’t tolerate heavy meals, it’s recommended to eat frequent meals and snacks throughout the day, focusing on high-calorie and high-protein foods. Nutritional shakes such as Ample are another option, but you should check with your doctor to find one that meets your nutritional needs. Consuming foods and beverages at room temperature, rather than chilled or hot, can also help you cope with cancer nausea.