An Article by Scott Sanders

Many of us ask what is life about. Sometimes, we can spend our entire lives simply trying to answer this question. After being diagnosed with cancer, it’s easy to keep coming back to existential questions. Suddenly, life seems a whole lot more finite, and the time that remains becomes inundated with the search for a deeper meaning.

The answer to life’s meaning is not found through any book, protocol or particular belief system. It is found simply by living in the present every step of the way. Man creates meaning, and life truly is whatever you make it. Now that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you will want to make the most of your time. What you do is not only important to develop some sort of deeper meaning, but it’s also important to give you the strength to carry on. Here are some tips to help you practice self-care and find wellness.

The Value of Rest and Relaxation

When cancer enters your life, you can expect to face hardship. No matter how you choose to treat the disease, your body will be put under a lot of stress. Inevitably, the stress and anxiety will take a toll on your mind and can lead to periods of restlessness, confusion, and exhaustion. These psychological effects, combined with the emotional drainage of your sickness, can leave you tired and utterly defeated. With so many external forces working against your mind, body, and soul, you need to give yourself something to recuperate.

The best way to protect yourself against these external forces is to get plenty of rest and prioritize relaxation. Simply taking time out of your day to rest can give you an additional boost to help you get through the tough times. By using rest as a tool against your sickness, you can retain strength and take back control of your life.

Beyond rest, there are other ways you can help yourself. Taking the time to treat yourself can help push you through the difficult moments. By scheduling days for massages, social gatherings, and trips to the spa, you give yourself little moments of joy to enrich your life. Even when you are in the middle of a particularly hard treatment, or when you’re feeling emotionally drained, you can look forward to upcoming moments spent with family, friends, or alone in reflection.

Understanding the Bigger Picture with Self-Care

When you understand what you’re trying to achieve with practicing self-care, you can begin structuring your life around improving your overall wellness. When you practice self-care, you are actively working toward improving your life in many integrated areas including mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing. As an example, If you want to improve your physical wellbeing, you might focus on your personal fitness and spend time exercising more or changing up your diet. If you need to cleanse your surroundings and improve your living environment, switch to natural cleaning products (harsh chemicals can often cause inflammation, and many of them may even increase the risk of getting cancer) and address the quality of the indoor air you breathe (air purifiers from IQAir or MERV-rated filters from companies like Lennox can help in this regard).

When you invest time in self-care, you are creating a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. You’ll feel engaged in your physical, mental, and spiritual health. The healthier you are in each area, the better equipped you will be to handle the journey with cancer.

Living an Outward Life

Focusing on your own self-care is vital for living your best life while dealing with your sickness. Of course, this shouldn’t be misconstrued as a call to only focus on yourself. Part of living a full and enriching life is by experiencing it with others, and even though you’re the one facing cancer, you should also consider how friends, family members, and caregivers in your life also need to focus on their own personal wellbeing. Life can feel empty when you focus only on yourself. By investing in the lives of the people around you, you will certainly find more fulfillment in your own.

So, the question isn’t for what are you living, but how are you living in the first place. When you start looking at life as an opportunity, the world will seem a little brighter. We create meaning in everyday moments, and every second we are alive, we have a chance to make it matter.

Tree at Dusk