by Jennifer Wilson
Battling cancer is a stressful time. If you’re not careful, the stress can become more overwhelming than the diagnosis. Managing your stress levels is an important priority throughout your cancer journey. You will have added stressors during this time that you did not have before. Here are some tips to help you stomp out that stress.
10 Tips to Stomp Out Stress
- Write things down. Your schedule will suddenly be overtaken with numerous doctor’s appointments, and it is important to know when they are. Put them into your phone calendar or write them in a planner. I created a shared calendar with my caregiver, so that he would know when my doctor’s appointments were scheduled. I also scheduled reminders for each appointment. In addition, I added work and social obligations to my calendar, so that I would know if there were scheduling conflicts.
- Pamper yourself. Self-care is very important during your cancer journey. Your body is going through a lot of changes, and it is important to take care of yourself. When I was going through chemotherapy and my body was aching, I would take a bubble bath with Epsom salt and a bath bomb. The Epsom salt eased my aching body and the bubbles helped me relax. Make time for a bath and go all out by lighting a candle and listening to peaceful music.
- Drink plenty of water. Chemotherapy can make your mouth very dry or even leave a strange metallic taste in your mouth. Stay well-hydrated throughout chemotherapy by drinking water daily (add lemon for a little flavor!) I drank water with lemon out of my Compassion that Compels cup throughout treatment.
- Eat well. Maintaining a healthy diet is important although you may not feel like eating if treatment leaves you nauseous. Still, it is important to keep your energy up and fuel your body with good foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs.
- Get plenty of rest. Fighting cancer in addition to the demands of regular life can leave little room for rest, but it’s very important that you make the time. When I was receiving chemotherapy and working, I worked all day and rested in the evening, then went to bed early.
- Exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon, just do something light. Even a little exercise can help strengthen your body and restore your energy. I am sure if I had exercised during my treatment it would have helped me to not feel as tired.
- Accept help when it is offered. Many people will offer to help you throughout your treatment, and you should take them up on their offers. My mother-in-law offered to go grocery shopping for me post-surgery, which was a big help. Someone may offer to babysit your children or bring you meals. Take advantage of these offers; it will give you some time to rest and heal.
- Talk to your boss about your treatment plan and what it entails. If you will need to miss work for doctor’s appointments, it is best to be open and upfront with your boss. You and your boss may be able to work out a schedule that creates less stress for you.
- Enjoy your life. Do something fun every day…call a friend, stop for your favorite treat, read your favorite book again, write in your journal, go for a walk. Your days are full of doctor’s appointments, treatment schedules, and taking care of your body. Don’t forget to do something that brings you joy in the midst of it all.
- Pray. Be strong and courageous during your cancer journey and do not let stress get the best of you. Write out your prayers, or keep track of your prayer requests (and answers!) in your Compassion That Compels Prayer Journal. Remember, God is with you every day and He will help you manage your stress levels when you turn to Him through prayer.
Anchored in Hope,
Jennifer Wilson is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas and a National Certified Counselor. She is currently an elementary school counselor and lives happily in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two dogs. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36, Jennifer received her baseline mammogram and cancer diagnosis shortly after a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same age. You can read her story on her blog, Anchored in Hope and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.