When you’re battling cancer, it brings a lot of things into view about your lifestyle and mental health. Medical advances mean that more people than ever living with cancer will go on to beat it, and lifestyle can play a huge part in this. Giving your body the best possible support while it undergoes a treatment plan and recovers is vital, so it’s definitely worth looking at the changes you can make. Living a healthy lifestyle can work alongside medical treatments and improve your long term health prospects, so try some of these positive behavioural changes today.
Alter Your Diet
One of the biggest and most effective changes you can make is the nutrition that you support your body with. Good nutrition during and after cancer treatment is vital to boost your immune system and the functioning of organs such as your liver. If you can only make one change, cutting out alcohol is the place to begin, followed by eliminating processed foods or those high in saturated fats. If you’re prepared to make a bigger change, then following a Mediterranean Diet works well – this is low in red meat and includes whole grains, oily fish, natural fats and lots of fruit and vegetables. Try adding in some foods which are high in fiber too like beans, peas or lentils.
Learn To Beat Stress
It may seem difficult at what is likely to be a significantly stressful period in your life, but controlling it’s negative effect on the mind and body is critical. Learning some simple stress management techniques, using gentle exercise as an outlet to process negative emotions, or even meditation can be useful. It’s all about finding what works for you – for some that might be an at-home yoga routine each morning, for others using a mindfulness app to switch off at night works. For others it may be joining a support group or turning to a trusted friend. Try to ensure there is some outlet in your life to help you process the pressure you are under.
Get Into A Sleep Routine
Good sleep can be transformational for your health, so aim for 7 to 8 hours each night. This will help support your immune system, weight control and coping ability, alongside many other factors. Keep to a regular bedtime over the week and the weekend, and try to make sure your bedroom is cool and dark, perhaps fitting blackout blinds. Avoid any caffeine for four hours before you go to sleep.
Access Support Where Possible
Emotional support is just as critical in effective treatment as physical steps you can take. Making sure that you have someone to confide in when things get tough is so important. And it’s also wise to consider the practical support you may need to access during treatment – from help with the housework to someone to drive you to and from the hospital. There may also be a need for someone to help with information and decision making while your energy is being directed to your health, such as finding the top proton therapy center for you or looking at holistic therapies to complement your cancer treatment. Getting this support when you need it most can make all the difference.