Caring For Yourself: Mind, Body, & Soul

Although it may seem too early for you to be thinking about your life after treatment and long-term survivorship, now may be a good time for you learn to take care of yourself.

What can you do, starting today, that will make a difference for you? You have lived all your life to come to this day, to this moment. There may be different ways to travel this road that will help you maintain your physical and mental health over the long run.

Here are some ideas to start with.

Feeding Your Body

• Exercise
• Sleep -- rest your body for atleast six to eight hours per day
Eat right -- consult a nutrionist
• Drink plenty of water

 Feeding Your Mind

In part, our energy and mood are direct products of what we think about. During this time of stress, it's vital to control your thoughts to focus on today. Otherwise, thoughts may spin out of control with worry about what tomorrow might bring, creating a sense of chaos, fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Our thoughts are like tools; they can be used for building up our confidence or tearing it down. Only you, not circumstances or other people, can control what you think about.

Some caregivers find writing in a journal a good way to sort thoughts and feelings. It can serve as a soothing process to empty the mind of stress. Support groups also are useful as they provide a safe place to sort things out and to balance one's perception of reality. Others use reading, music or meditation for thought control.

 Feeding Your Soul

Living a life with cancer at the forefront carries three dimensions: physical, emotional and spiritual. Searching for spiritual sustenance is one of the exercises that many caregivers experience in their quest to make sense of this time in their lives. As their spiritual life begins to broaden in searching for meaning and deeper understanding, many find that their priorities become rearranged. What was thought to be important before cancer -- such as striving for material goods or worldly success -- may now seem trivial and unimportant. What may emerge is the growing awareness and appreciation of the importance of faith and relationships with loved ones.

Pray and meditate -- feed your soul. Seek spiritual sustenance.