what is self care?
As the name suggests, self care is the process of taking care of your own health through actions you take such as maintaining good hygiene, eating well, exercising, and seeking professional healthcare services when needed but not limited to these things.
Why is self care important?
As individuals, we are less able to handle stress when we are physically and emotionally exhausted. However, when we feel our best physically and emotionally, we have greater resilience and are more able to cope with life's stresses. By taking some time out to engage in self-care, you may relieve the pressures of everyday life and reset yourself to a healthy point where productivity is once again maximised. It is for this reason that self-care is essential in everyday life, but especially during cancer treatment and recovery.
Chemotherapy side effects & self-care
Besides adversely impacting your physical health, cancer can also negatively impact your mental health as well. Self care doesn't have to take a lot of time nor does it have to cost a lot, but it can drastically improve your mental well-being in a number of ways. When you take good care of yourself, you will be happier in all areas of your life, and the happier you are, the better you will feel.
As you care for yourself, you will be able to reduce some of the side effects of cancer treatment. You will be able to reduce symptoms such as chemo brain and nausea which can become overwhelming when you are stressed.
what can stress cause?
1. Cognitive Changes (Chemo Brain)
Stress can affect the neural circuits that control cognition, decision making, anxiety, and mood, and that can affect how those behaviours are expressed.
Stress and anxiety can affect virtually every body system, including the cardiovascular, endocrine, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In the digestive system, stress can cause: nausea, vomiting heartburn, acid reflux, stomachache, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation and painful spasms in the bowel.
A high level of stress impairs sleep as it delays the time it takes to fall asleep and fragments the amount of sleep. Sleep loss also triggers our body's response system, which in turn leads to an increase in stress hormones, such as cortisol.
In addition to making our hearts work harder, stress also negatively affects our immune system, resulting in fatigue.
6. Immune System
Stress creates a hormone in your body called cortisol. Cortisol can suppress your immune system's effectiveness in fighting off invaders by lowering the number of lymphocytes present in the blood and interfering with normal white blood cell communication.
Benefits of self care
- Improvement on your physical health
- Reduces stress & anxiety
- Boosts self-esteem
- Protects your mental health
- Can lead to better relationships
Self care routine
Take deep breaths
Listen to music
Read a book
Write thoughts into a journal.
Taking a walk
Do something creative
Cook a new recipe
Learn more ways on how to de-stress with our stress relief guides