Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
Daily, we are learning more about ways to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the person affected by cancer, self-care can already play a vital role in healing and can now help during social distancing.
No one was prepared to face a pandemic, and no one knows exactly what the future holds and how it will affect us in the days ahead, but the government has issued helpful precautions. For those with weakened immune systems, the guidelines are more severe. Those affected by cancer fall into that category and that’s why self-care is so important.
Fear, anxiety and worry can affect emotional wellbeing but by controlling the things one can control, a person can still feel empowered.
One of the best ways to conquer feelings of uncertainty and fear is to start the day by choosing to focus on ways of incorporating peace into the day.
Limit exposure to the constant barrage of news reports on social media. Too much negative information can increase worry, which can result in feelings of panic. It’s important to be in the know, but sometimes, too much information is not a good thing.
Another way to provide self-care is to schedule breaks during the day where one can experience solitude. Turning off phones, computers, televisions or other noise making distractions can provide periods of much needed quiet time. Meditation, prayer or deep breathing exercises can promote feelings of calm and relaxation.
Napping is a great way to take care of one’s physical wellbeing. This is especially helpful for those in active phases of cancer treatment. Listening to one’s body is an extremely important part of self-care.
Writing is another avenue for self-care. It can provide a necessary means of self-expression which in turn can contribute to a healthy regimen. Taking time to record thoughts in a journal or jotting down a few lines on a greeting card is a great way to process thoughts. Whatever emerges on the page doesn't matter, the discipline of writing does. Making a conscious decision to pause, reflect or download thoughts can help alleviate stressful feelings in healthy ways.
With recent restrictions due to the viral outbreak, it’s not wise to have physical contact with others, but technology is a great resource. Sending a quick text, making a phone call, or even setting an appointment to Facetime can help a person feel more connected instead of fostering feelings of isolation and aloneness.
Music is also a great tool for soothing the spirit. Wordless tunes, like those found in classical music compositions, can help calm and inspire. Peaceful melodies can remind one of the creative spirit that makes us all human.
Creative art is another means of promoting self-care. Painting, needlework, sewing or using other artistic mediums can provide means of relaxation and happiness.
Practicing daily gratitude is a wonderful way to end the day. Counting blessings helps one become more aware of the balance between good and evil. Focuses on the positive aspects of life is not only healthy but healing.
There are so many constructive ways to deal with the cares and concerns that attempt to steal joy. Choosing to put one’s health first is imperative. Reinforcing a sense of security through self-care is one of the best home remedies one can practice.