Today I have the honor of presenting Guest Author Scott Sanders, Author and Creator of cancerwell.org
Emotional Wellness for Cancer Survivors
You’ve done it. You’ve beaten cancer into submission and now you have to take steps to enhance your quality of life after treatment. And that’s a difficult thing to do. But it isn’t impossible. Keep reading for ways chemo, radiation, and other types of cancer treatment can have an impact on your mental health and what you can do about it.
Dark side of treatment
Cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemo, can leave deep physical scars. Weight loss, baldness, and chronic pain, however, are just the beginning for some patients. The psychological effects of cancer may run even deeper. Patients often feel pressured to get back to normal and carry on as though they hadn’t just experienced a life-changing event. There’s also emotional issues stemming from waning self-esteem due to physical changes. Cancer is not only a burden to the body but the mind as well and it takes every ounce of strength a patient has to get through treatment.
Healing from within
Upon a devastating diagnosis, it’s natural to look toward your higher power for answers. Even those who subscribe to a secular lifestyle often find themselves turning to spirituality for comfort. The University of California Riverside explains the spiritual wellness is important for everyone and that all people should make a point to explore their own interpretation of the meaning of life. Whatever you define as your spirituality, it can be a source of strength after cancer treatment.
Nature: your on-call doctor
There is little doubt that spending time in nature is human nature. Just the act of being outdoors can help you feel better about your situation. The American Society of Landscape Architects reports that people often spend time in the mountains or woods as a way to heal after trauma, stress, or sickness. You may not feel like hiking, swimming, or biking, but simply sitting on your back porch in the sunshine will have a healing effect and put you in a better state of mind to manage your health.
Why family matters
When you’re tired, stressed, or feeling sick after your chemo or radiation, the last thing you may want is a group of people gathered around you. But evidence suggests that family and social support is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity explains that your closest confidants can help you stick to your medical regimen by encouraging you to eat healthy foods, take your medication – even if it makes you sick, and follow up with your healthcare providers. Plus, being with people you love can help boost your self-esteem, enhance your bonds, and relieve stress.
Food and fitness
The goal of cancer treatment is to rid the body of invading cells. And while there is never a guarantee that you won’t experience cancer recurrence, the American Cancer Society says there are things you can do to keep your body healthy and strong so it can best fight on your behalf. Start by changing your diet to include at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day. If you’re significantly overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss and exercise program that will help you shed pounds. This will reduce your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, and numerous other diseases associated with obesity. Your physical activity matters as well and you should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. If you weren’t doing these things before diagnosis, paying attention to your eating and exercise habits now may help offset some of the negative side effects you’re experiencing.
You don’t have to let the dark side of cancer treatment dampen your life. By changing your habits, you can take control of your health and happiness.