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Finding Empowerment and Control Through Self-Care During and After Cancer Treatment

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a devastating and life-altering event. While treatment is essential to recovery, it can also take a toll on a person's physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Practising self-care is crucial during and after cancer treatment to help manage side effects, promote self-healing, and maintain a positive outlook.

Nutrition plays a vital role in overall health, especially during cancer treatment. Patients may experience changes in appetite, taste, and digestive function, making it challenging to maintain a healthy diet. However, a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and provide necessary nutrients for healing. Consulting with a registered dietitian can be helpful in developing a personalized nutrition plan.

Alternative and complementary care options such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, massage therapy, music therapy, Tai Chi, and yoga can also provide relief from side effects of cancer treatment. Acupuncture, for example, has been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and may help manage pain. Massage therapy can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality, while yoga can help reduce fatigue and promote flexibility and strength.

Mindset and emotional wellbeing are also essential components of self-care during and after cancer treatment. Cancer can be a traumatic experience that can leave individuals feeling anxious, depressed, and fearful. Practising mindfulness and meditation can help manage stress and anxiety, improve mood, and promote a sense of calm. Therapy and support groups can also be helpful in addressing the emotional toll of cancer and provide a safe space to process feelings and connect with others who understand the experience.

Finding a support system during and after cancer treatment can make a significant difference in a person's recovery. Support can come from friends, family, healthcare providers, or support groups. Online resources such as, Cancer Support Community and the American Cancer Society can provide information, resources, and a sense of community for those impacted by cancer.

If you’re considering using any non-traditional therapy treatment, it is important to discuss it with your professional healthcare team first. Practising self-care during and after cancer treatment is essential for overall health and wellbeing. Please do your research and be suspicious of any treatment or persons that says they can cure cancer. If in-doubt ask them to provide you with scientific evidence, published research paper or case studies so you can verify them.

Nutritious food, alternative and complementary care options, mindfulness, and support can all play a crucial role in one’s recovery. Cancer treatment can be a challenging and difficult journey, but taking care of oneself can help alleviate some of the burdens and promote a sense of empowerment and control.

Here are some coaching tools and techniques that can support you:

The Wheel of Support & Purpose & 5-minute Journal & Tracker Self-Care During & After Cance
Download • 1.20MB

Wheel of Life:

Adapt the Wheel of Life tool to help assess your current levels of satisfaction and balance in various areas of their lives, including nutrition, alternative care, mindset, and support.

Reflective Questions:

  • How satisfied are you with your current diet and nutrition?

  • What alternative care options have you considered or tried, and how have they worked for you?

  • How do you manage stress and anxiety, and what mindfulness or meditation practices do you currently use?

  • Who are your current sources of support, and how effective have they been in helping you cope with cancer?

Positive Affirmations:

Positive affirmations help to promote a positive mindset and reduce negative self-talk.

Reflective Questions:

  • What are some affirmations that you can use to remind yourself of your strength and resilience during cancer treatment?

  • How can you reframe negative thoughts and beliefs about your body, health, and cancer into positive affirmations that promote self-love and self-care?

Gratitude Journaling:

Keeping a gratitude journal helps you to focus on positive aspects of your life and promote a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

Reflective Questions:

  • What are some things that you are grateful for in your life, despite the challenges of cancer treatment?

  • How can you incorporate gratitude journaling into your daily routine to help promote a positive mindset and reduce stress and anxiety?

Mindful Eating:

Mindful eating promotes healthy eating habits and reduce stress and anxiety related to food and nutrition.

Reflective Questions:

  • How can you practice mindful eating, paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, and savoring the flavors and textures of your food?

  • How can you incorporate mindfulness into your meal preparation and planning, to promote healthy and nutritious meals that support your recovery and healing?

Building a Support System:

Never underestimate the power of ‘community.’ Build a support system that includes friends, family, healthcare providers, and support groups.

Reflective Questions:

  • Who are the people in your life that you can turn to for emotional support and practical help during cancer treatment?

  • How can you find or join a cancer support group that provides a safe and understanding community for you to connect with others who share your experience?

  • How can you communicate your needs and preferences to your support system effectively, and ask for help when you need it?


About the Author - Donna Burfield

Donna Burfield is a licensed and accredited coach and the founder of Joy and Purpose Coaching, Coaches Supporting Coaches - Dubai, and CSC Certified Coaches Group. With 26 years teaching experience and being a single mother to her daughter and twin sons, Donna is passionate about supporting working parents to prioritize their family's well-being, strengthen their parenting skills, and set boundaries using easy and effective tools. Donna also supports a coaching community to collaborate, inspire, and develop professionally. She connects coaches with experts to build ethical and professional coaching businesses, including legal, business licenses, insurance, and website building.

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