While some have believed for decades that addressing a patient’s emotional state is an important part of cancer care, others are just starting to get on board. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, starting in 2015, the Commission on Cancer will require cancer treatment providers to meet a new standard to evaluate patients for distress and find them help if necessary.
After a cancer diagnosis, it’s important to give yourself the space you need to relax, rejuvenate and heal. Preparing for everything that follows – from deciding on a treatment plan to adjusting schedules at home and at work – can feel overwhelming. While relaxing may be the last thing on your mind during this time in your life, finding a moment to unwind and alleviate stress benefits both your mind and body throughout your fight against cancer.
"During cancer treatment, relaxation is a tool that can reduce the side effects of treatment-related symptoms and pain,” says Diane Schaab, MS, LPC, a mind-body therapist with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Newnan, GA. “Feeling relaxed can reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety, providing a positively enhanced experience for both patients and caregivers.”
There are many ways to seek professional help when it comes to de-stressing, from guided imagery to laughter therapy to individual counseling, but there are also many ways to find relaxation on your own. Taking the time to relax can provide both physical and emotional benefits when it comes to your cancer treatment journey, and don’t forget it can also just feel great.
Here are nine ways to relieve stress on your own, which can help you remain strong and focused your during cancer treatment:
1. Take a Deep Breath
4. Take a Bath
5. Read a Book
6. Keep a Journal
7. Listen to Music
8. Find a Hobby
For more on the healing powers of relaxation, visit this month's Cancer Center Newsletter on relaxation.