Tips for Upgrading Your 'Healing Cave' During Cancer


Here are some tips to upgrade your healing cave during cancer, which can help improve one's headspace.

Illustration of a man with dark curly hair reading a book.

I’m officially tuning in from the West Coast!

After living in NY all my life, moving cross country to Northern California has been a huge change. Most of it’s been great, although we’re still waiting for our movers to deliver the rest of our stuff and I’ve noticed how displaced I’ve felt at times. It’s reminded me how much our environment can impact us.

Back in NYC, I joked my apartment doubled as a holistic healing center —aka my “healing cave”— as I invested in everything from the healthiest food, an infrared sauna, red light therapy, juicers and more supplements than your local Vitamin Shoppe.

I believed this was necessary to give myself the best chance possible. I was all-in on healing and considered the work I put in on my own just as much a part of treatment as anything done at the hospital. And I’m really grateful that my wife sacrificed her vision of a home in order to support me. 

I’ve seen first-hand how much of a difference a supportive environment can make, so in this post, I want to offer a few considerations for readers as you develop your own healing cave during cancer.

Straighten up when you can: it can be challenging to keep things tidy when you’re undergoing treatment. Fatigue, nausea, weakness, etc… they make everything harder. Also, when your brain is fixated on scan results or replaying doctor conversations, the last thing you care about is folding laundry.

But straightening up our environment is worth it. Can you get help from friends or family? Or rally when you get a second wind? Clearing physical clutter helps clear our headspace, and literally improves the vibes in the room, which can calm our nervous system. And with healing cancer, every edge counts. Making our bed, sorting piles of paper, or just organizing around the kitchen can be surprisingly therapeutic.

It’s about crafting a space that doesn’t just look calm but makes us feel it deep down.

What triggers are working against you? Are there work papers or medical reports lying around, subtly taking up space in the back of your mind? Again, we want to conserve as much energy as possible for healing.

Check your habits: Are you leaving enough time to wind down before bed? Do you tune in for the news or find yourself scrolling through social media on the couch too often? Are there other, healthier ways you can feel informed/connected?

Here are a few tips for setting up your home:

1) Stock your kitchen with high quality nutrition and remove unhealthy temptations: This can be something you build up to over time, but the idea is to view food as medicine, where every meal and snack is a powerful opportunity to boost our healing.

2) Put your senses to work for you: Can you promote natural lighting, add plants, and throw on an infuser with your favorite essential oils? How are the colors in the room? Do they have a calming effect that makes you feel good? Is the temperature comfortable?

And don’t forget the tunes! During treatment, my friends built shared playlists for me and whenever I’d listen, it brought a ton of joy and made me feel connected and supported.

3) Stay locked in to healing: Keeping photos of loved ones, inspiring quotes and success stories of other thrivers around can inspire and help us stay focused. Also, keep your healing equipment in sight and in mind.

With the right intention and preparation, our home can be our ultimate healing zone and the more we can rally support from family and friends, the better.

That said, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, just try to remember that change doesn’t have to happen overnight. You can chip away and make small improvements over time. Patience and self-compassion are key, especially when taking on something like cancer. (If you have questions or want to learn more about my story, you can reach out at and I’m always looking to support readers like other thrivers did for me.)

As always, one good decision at a time… one day at a time.

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