18 Feb 2018

Self-care and cancer

One of the key recommendations I make to my patients is to think about a self-care routine to support your medical treatment.

Self-care is important for everyone, whether facing cancer or not, yet we often unfairly view self-care as too self-indulgent and time-consuming to incorporate into our lives.

As cancer treatment can at times leave you feeling unwell, unhappy, or just not quite yourself, the act of self-care is all the more essential to maintaining physical and emotional wellbeing.

Self-care looks and feels different for everyone, and needn’t require excess money and resources. Some people love to read, take a bath, or treat themselves to a massage or a pedicure. For others it may involve rest, talking to friends, listening to music, or some gentle exercise like a quiet walk or yoga class.

At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, the LivingRoom is the home of supportive care and integrative medicine, offering a range of therapies that would benefit self-care practice, including oncology massage, oncology nutrition advice, acupuncture, physiotherapy, mindfulness meditation, and restorative yoga, to name a few. You can see the full list of services here.

The biggest message is, do not confuse self-care with selfishness. Listen to your body. Whatever your self-care program looks like, the most important thing is that you’re giving yourself time to heal both emotionally and physically through your cancer treatment.