Find new and better ways to take care of yourself—mind, body, and soul. This is where true healing begins. Here are some ideas:
- Visualize your chemo goal: Picture your cancer cells gone and your normal cells springing back to full-color health.
- Get a friend to power walk—or talk— with you three times a week.
- Go to the movies, a concert, or a show at the end of each chemo cycle. Celebrate each treatment step that brings you closer to health.
- Laugh, laugh, laugh. Then laugh some more. It strengthens your immune system.
- Get as much sleep as you can—and plenty of hugs, too!
Don’t like the thought of exercising if it has anything at all to do with laps, reps, mats or circuit training? Well…what about dancing around your living room to some vintage Metallica, strategically planting chrysanthemums to create a huge smiley face on the lawn, or taking a whirl around the block on your kid’s dirt bike—in full leather regalia? All of these enjoyable activities are “exercise” in their own right. If you indulge on a regular basis, they’ll keep you feeling healthier and stronger throughout your chemo treatments.
No matter whether you are shy or outgoing, competitive or mellow, get started on feeling healthy with plenty of fun activities that qualify as bona fide exercise. Shape an exercise program around things you love to do. After all, if you’ve always liked dancing, you’re more likely to stick with a salsa class than a treadmill workout. To get started on fashioning a program, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I prefer to exercise alone or with others?
- Am I looking for ways to rev up or wind down?
- Am I goal-oriented or do I like doing things for their own sake?
- Do I want to get away from it all or exercise close to home?
Then, match your answers to one or more of these activities:
|Team sports||Yoga||Dance class|
|Working out at the gym||Walking||Martial arts|
If there are other activities you enjoy that didn’t make this list, add them! Then, pull together your top three or four choices, plug them into your schedule—and go!
There’s nothing like a wolf whistle from someone you love—or just knowing you look good—to get you feeling better fast. So, if chemo side effects—hair loss, for instance—get you feeling down, know that there is something you can do about it. A makeover, and all the attention that comes along with it, can really lift your spirits.
That’s why the Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB) program, started in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, enlists the services of cosmetologists across the country and offers free online cosmetic guidance at www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org , as well as in group programs nationwide.
If you want to explore the realm of wigs, scarves, hats, and turbans—LGFB can get you started with styling immediately. The program’s cosmetologists also give step-by-step skin care and makeup advice—online or in person. Note: Your health insurance may cover the cost of a wig if your doctor prescribes it. You may wish to discuss this with your oncologist or oncology nurse.