A Blog For Those Affected By Environmental And Invisible Illnesses Written By Fellow Survivors
Coping With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Coping with cancer is hard enough on its own, but now you also have a global pandemic to think about. Your disease puts you into a high-risk group, so you need to take special care of your health during this time. If you need some help with dealing with COVID-19 and cancer, here are a few things you can try practicing every day:
Focus on things you can control
The situation in the world can truly make you feel helpless which will drain your energy and occupy your mind. However, you can’t control the epidemic, so try not to focus on it too much. Instead, pay attention to things you can change by following a healthy daily routine.
For instance, make a schedule for your day: start why getting up and eating a nutritious breakfast, then you can work out, call your friends and settle with a good show to make you laugh. Another thing you can control is social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands. You can also limit the amount of virus-related posts and news you see every day.
Talk to your treatment team
Staying in the know is a great way to remove some of the anxiety, so contact your treatment team and ask for information on how COVID-19 is affecting treatment and treatment plan. You can discuss all risks based on your cancer history, so write down all questions you might have and don’t hesitate to ask them when you get your cancer information helpline. And remember to have patience since some of the members from your cancer team might be helping COVID-19 patients—it might take longer to reach your treatment team.
Consult with a professional counselor
Professionals know exactly what you and your family are going through. They understand your feelings, thoughts and worries and can offer many healthy ways to cope. Also, most counseling sessions can be done over the phone or on video chat, so you don’t have to risk anything.
When you make others feel good, you will feel good—that’s a simple truth. So, look into some charity organizations and see whether you can find something you can stand behind. Luckily, you can always find a legit cancer fund that offers free cancer care services and runs educational campaigns, so feel free to donate. Knowing that your actions provide help for many people in similar situations as you can do wonders for your mental health and help you cope with your illness.
Reach out to people
We all know physical closeness is limited, but that doesn’t mean you need to distance yourself from people completely. Thanks to technology, you can hear and see your loved ones every day. There are also great online communities that connect cancer patients. It’s amazing how good human connections can make you feel.
Improve your diet
It can be soooo tempting to just order takeout every day and binge-eat comfort foods in front of the TV during self-isolation. However, while an occasional cheat meal is fine, make sure to eat plenty of healthy foods (veggies, fruits, protein, grains and nuts) and create a balanced plate for every meal. Eating a healthy diet will make you feel better and allow you to stay healthier. Also, experimenting in the kitchen can be super fun and calming.
Join an online yoga class, search for some easy exercises online, order some home workout equipment or go for a brisk walk (of course, you need to follow all social distancing rules and wear a mask). Physical activity will make you feel strong and energized and it will also provide you with a nice injection of happy hormones.
There’s no better way to clear your mind and work on your mindfulness than meditating. This passive activity eases anxiety, relieves stress and anger and allows people to feel more in control of their life. And you don’t need any equipment to engage in meditation, just a quiet room and a cozy place to sit.
Look for positive things
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with negativity today. Every time you check Twitter or turn on the TV, you can find a bunch of bad news and hate. Instead, find various positive and hopeful stories to follow and find inspiration in. You can find hope in helping others by donating, sharing cancer and COVID-19 recovery stories and looking at uplifting content.
Be kind to yourself
You feel the way you feel and that’s perfectly valid. Know that there will be bad days when the only thing you can do is lay in bed and watch TV—nothing wrong with that. Be kind to your mind and your body. For instance, if you feel hungry, have a snack, if you feel lonely, reach out to your friends, if you need support, contact a therapist.
Hopefully, this pandemic will be over and things will go back to normal (at least to an extent), but you need to hold on to your health and sanity. Rely on these tips and you will be able to keep cancer under control and ward off COVID-19.
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