Living with cancer can be a challenging and draining experience. You may have a million questions floating around your head, ranging from questions about your future to those about survival.
One way for you to increase your chances of survival is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle while living with cancer. Doing this is not as difficult as it seems, remember that your little actions daily sum up to give you a fighting chance.
To find out some of the ways you can ensure that healthy living remains a part of your life when you have cancer, keep reading:
Exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Part of the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment is fatigue. An adequate level of physical activity is effective in helping you cope with the fatigue. Also, it helps to ensure that your muscles don’t waste away due to inactivity.
Your exercise routine should revolve around stretching, endurance, and strengthening exercises. This will keep your body and mind in good shape, and also boost your immune system. Fatigue will often make you too tired to engage in any physical activity. But, remember that exercise is the body’s secret weapon.
- Seek and accept support
It is easy to clam up and stop socializing when you have cancer. While this is a natural move, you have to resist it. Living with cancer can be a harrowing experience to go through alone. Don’t hesitate to lean on your family and friends for support. Your emotional well-being is crucial at this point, and you need stability and security. These are things that your family and friends can offer you.
Also, you can join a support group for people living with cancer so you can share your struggles and draw strength from them. It is easy to slip into depression and anxiety if you do not process your emotions adequately and get psychological support.
- Eat healthily
Your body is fighting for you, so you need to give it the best to ensure that you come out on top. Poor eating habits will only make things harder for you. It may be hard, but you have to eliminate junk food, refined and processed food, and food laden with fat.
Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. In addition to this, try to take probiotics like yoghurt, to keep your digestive tract healthy.
You should also use healthy oils such as olive oil in your diet, and you can take your meals in smaller bits to cope with nausea and vomiting.
- Maintain a High Level of Hygiene
Cancer and its treatment often reduce the efficiency of your immune system, and this puts you at risk of infections. Mild infections like a common cold can be more severe when you have cancer. This is because your body can become easily overwhelmed by the infection, and this can lead to severe consequences. As a result, you need to protect yourself from getting diseases.
A simple way to do this is by washing your hands regularly with soap and water. You pick up a lot of germs through your hands, and frequent handwashing will go a long way in protecting you from contacting ailments.
Always take time out to relax. Between tests and visits to the hospital, you may find that you are wound up inside with anxiety. To cope with this, you need to ensure that you sleep well. Six to nine hours of sleep every day is recommended. You should also spend time with your family and friends, bonding over old memories and creating new ones instead of talking about your ailment.
Music therapy also helps with relieving stress. Meditation is also efficient in doing this. A diagnosis of cancer does not mean you should stop everything you enjoyed doing before the diagnosis. The fun can continue, but you have to adjust it now to your current capacity so you don’t get weary.
- Avoid alcohol
Alcohol is a no-no. If at all you must drink, let it be a little quantity.
There is also the danger of using alcohol to cope with your diagnosis, and this a harmful way to process your struggle with your diagnosis. You should avoid this. Alcohol addiction is enough trouble on its own.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions
Your medical team can also serve as a source of support for you. Especially when it comes to making good food choices, planning your day, and overall making the best choices for your treatment. Always tell the doctor about any symptom you experience, and whenever you feel unwell. You are in a fragile place and your body needs the best care possible.
- Be responsible
If you are sexually active, practice safe sex with your partner. Make use of condoms and other barrier methods to protect yourself from STIs. You should also avoid having sex with multiple sexual partners.
Don’t share sharp objects such as razor blades, shaving sticks, or needles with anyone else.
Some of the treatments used in cancer therapy like chemo can make your skin more sensitive than normal. You should make use of sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 whenever you are outside to prevent sunburns. Your clothing should also be protective, covering your body well so that it can be shielded from the sun. In addition to this, make use of face caps and wide-brimmed hats so you can get more protection.
You have to recognize that you are more than this illness. So, you should be more intentional about how you spend your time. Instead of staying home or hiding from everyone, you should get out there and do something different. Sometimes, a cancer diagnosis offers us another chance to slow down and become more involved in our lives. Learn how to play an instrument, pick up a new skill or hobby, go out more, and have fun. Active people are healthier than those that lead a sedentary or inactive life.
What are you waiting for?
Go start something!