How to Take Care of Yourself Psychologically When You Have Cancer
Being diagnosed with cancer, regardless of its stage, can fundamentally change the way you look at life and your relationships. Cancer can take a long-term psychological toll on you during treatment and after. You will often be exhausted and might experience heightened anxiety and depression. You also could potentially face financial burdens due to this diagnosis.
While combating the physical symptoms of cancer, you might overlook powerful ways to change your emotional or psychological outlook. You can ease the stress of a cancer diagnosis by incorporating self-care into your routine to help manage your spiritual wellness. Research has even shown that self-care can help you manage some of the physical pain associated with cancer. Here are some methods that can help.
1. Prioritize Relationships
Many people find that after being diagnosed with cancer, their relationships with loved ones are a source of strength. But sometimes they want to protect their loved ones and isolate themselves in order to avoid hurting friends or family. According to the Guardian, learning constructive communication and coping strategies together can help you and your loved ones find balance and handle difficulties that might arise. Maintaining positive relationships is worth the effort.
Make time to communicate how much you appreciate someone, and do activities together. Additionally, don’t be afraid to move away from relationships that are a source of negativity. This can be hard, but you owe it to yourself, and this will benefit your spiritual wellness. Focusing on the positive relationships in your life can help you see how your choices have positively affected other people, which can powerfully contribute to an overall feeling of peace and confidence.
2. Make time for meditation
Whether a cancer diagnosis is terminal or not, fear and anxiety can adversely affect your emotional or psychological state. Research has shown that the stress associated with cancer can negatively affect cancer outcomes. Everyone’s bodies respond differently to stress, but battling cancer requires you find a strategy to deal with the psychological toll it can take.
One activity that helps is meditation. Major studies have shown that meditation can ease your psychological stress and help alleviate cancer-associated depression. There are many ways to meditate, including mindfulness-based stress reduction, visualization, or prayer meditation.
Regardless of your religious or spiritual background, meditation is something you should consider. If you don’t know where to start, consider talking with a doctor, psychologist, or therapist for tips about how to begin.
3. Start a gratitude journal
Cancer can bring about a crippling depression for many people that prevents them from doing much outside of the bare minimum. Recently, researchers at Cambridge used positive psychological tools like gratitude journals to help patients with depression. Remarkably, patients experienced improvements in vitality and health and reduced limitations.
Expressing gratitude can refocus your priorities and powerfully help you find meaning in life. Gratitude is often very personal, but it can aid in fighting the psychological stress and depression that come with cancer, which makes it a valuable tool. While writing in the gratitude journal, take action and do what you can to give back. Whether it’s reaching out to friends and family and telling them you love them, volunteering, or trying to help others, it can encourage you focus more on the positives in your life.
Finding spiritual wellness during cancer can give you a source of strength to overcome cancer’s many battles. Expressing gratitude, meditating, and prioritizing relationships are a few self-care activities that many cancer survivors implement to find meaning and beat this disease.