The Importance of a Support System and Self Care in the Cancer Journey
When fighting cancer, laser sharp focus on doing everything possible to give yourself the best chance is essential. In the midst of many unknowns, there will be moments where you must dig deep and find the strength to warrior on, ideally with the support of a loving community. It is in times like this that the human spirit emerges stronger and more complex than one could ever imagine. How can you nurture yourself, mind, body and soul, during such a journey?
Identify your biggest cheerleaders and anchors of support. You have seen your entire life change in a split second during your diagnosis. Although at first, you may have tried to walk alone or with the support of a spouse or best friend, some of your strongest allies are often just a phone call, text or conversation away. Who might they be? This is where a little digging is required. Is there a cancer survivor’s support group that regularly meets in your area? Has one of your childhood friends reached a milestone in her fight, such as five years cancer-free? Are there Facebook support groups for those days when you do not want to travel outside of your home?
Allow yourself to reach out. Now that you have a list of people and groups who may serve a valuable role in your line of defense against cancer, it is time to ask for help. Make the connection, even when you are feeling weary or extra vulnerable. Sometimes even our spouses do not know what to say or how to help, but a fellow survivor can relate on another level entirely. Before long, you will feel more encouraged and equipped to face each new day.
Nourish your spirit. Your body is engaged in the fight for life, and your mind is sometimes overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of everything around you. This is why extra attention must be paid to emotional self-care. Whether you relax through a guided meditation, sit quietly for as long as you need to in nature, or listen to soothing music in your earbuds and rest, this type of care is incredibly replenishing to the soul.
Refuel your mind. Often when faced with significant obstacles, our minds have a way of defaulting to a fear-based inner dialogue. Crowd out those damaging thoughts with as much goodness and encouragement as you can. Subscribe to positive podcasts, read or listen to uplifting books and watch a funny movie to laugh like you have not in quite some time. Place affirmations around your home or office, and recite them when you pass by.
Face your new normal in the best way possible, by making use of these and other helpful tools.