As a cancer survivor, life has changed for me a bit, as it has for many cancer survivors. For me, though, life hasn’t necessarily changed in such a negative way. It’s actually helped me see things differently and provided me with opportunities.
For one, being a survivor has driven me to focus a good bit of my time and energy on improving my overall well-being. These days, I do the things I need to do to keep me healthy, fit, and mentally strong.
Cancer Survivor Tips: Living Healthy and Living Strong
Currently, we live in a world that can fuel anxiety, depression, and doubt, as if fears of a cancer recurrence couldn’t do this all by itself. And, it’s our responsibility, and ultimately our choice, as to whether or not we make the decisions needed to take care of ourselves.
Below are five things that I suggest cancer survivors do to increase the quality of their lives and combat negativity. These are things you may have heard of before, but they are also things that I have experienced and things that have a tremendously positive impact on our minds and bodies.
1. Meditate! Yes, it Really Works!
Meditation is a great way to declutter a stressed and overloaded mind. For many, our daily lives can be busy—bombarded with endless negative information, seemingly infinite tasks that must be accomplished, and a multitude of other stressors that can cause sensory overload.
If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.
Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.
And you can practice meditation wherever you are—whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office, or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting,
the Mayo Clinic states on its website.
And, this is what is so great about meditation. It’s something so powerful and effective, and it’s something that can be done anywhere.
There are many forms of meditation, but one of the most basic forms of meditation is to calmly focus on your breathing. Put all of your concentration into listening to your breathing—each breath—from inhaling to exhaling. If your attention starts to drift off, refocus and come back to just your breathing.
2. Exercise to Improve Your Body and Your Brain
You hear about, read about, and see information about exercising everywhere. And, well, it’s because there is actually something to it.
Exercise is without a doubt a stress reliever for many. And not only does exercise relieve stress and make you stronger, but it makes you feel good. It makes you feel good because pushing yourself in exercise through weight training and cardiovascular exercise makes your body release endorphins.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine,
WebMD states on its website.
So if you want to get stronger, make yourself look better, and if you want a natural and healthy high, try exercising. If you are new to exercise, just start slow, but definitely take that first step towards a workout routine.
3. Get Outside
Oftentimes, people who are down and depressed tend to stay inside. This only makes things worse, fact. Like meditation though, simply getting outside is a very easy way to boost both your mood and your immune system, all at the same time.
Getting exposure to sunlight helps the skin produce Vitamin D, which is great for giving our body’s immune systems a boost. Also, sunlight helps the body create the feel-good chemical, serotonin.
Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of major depression with seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD). This is a form of depression triggered by the changing seasons,
Healthline reports on its website.
And when it comes to cancer, did you know that some studies have shown that people who live in areas with fewer daylight hours are more likely to have cancers such as:
- Colon cancer
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
So, be sure and make time to get outside a few times a week. Get your cardiovascular exercise and exposure to sunlight at the same time with a short walk or jog.
4. Cancer Survivor? Know Your Risks
It’s very common for cancer treatments to cause other problems in the body, both in the short-term and in the long-term. For survivors, it’s very important to know of the potential risks that may lie ahead, before they happen. It’s also a very good idea to connect with a doctor or doctors to monitor you. Yes, this sounds like a given, survivors, for whatever reason, sometimes fall out of the system in terms of check-ups and monitoring.
5. Make it Happen!
Among all of the cancer survivor tips listed, this one is paramount. Find the thing you love to do, you know, that thing that makes you want to get up every morning. Once you know what that is, whether it’s writing, hiking, helping others, painting, sewing, running your small business, get after it. Don’t wait on certain things to happen and make you happy, you go and make things happen. You are a survivor, make your second chance count.