24 tips for reducing stress during chemotherapy

Undergoing chemotherapy can cause a lot of stress, but there are many ways to manage it. Here is a list of 24 stress reducing techniques to help get you through this difficult time.

Self-help reducing stress during chemotherapy 

reducing stress during chemotherapy

Prioritize your tasks

What needs to get done right now? What things can wait? If you are living with cancer, your day-to-day routine may have changed since before your diagnosis, and it’s important to prioritize what’s necessary.

Break them into smaller steps

Divide your task list into more manageable steps. You’ll find that you will get a lot more accomplished when you set small, realistic goals for yourself.

Concentrate on things you can control

While you may be able to treat your cancer with chemotherapy and cannabis, there are still things you will be unable to control with your diagnoses. It’s important not to let this overwhelm you.

Exercise

If you are physically capable of exercising, give it a try! Exercising releases endorphins, which are the body’s form of natural pain and stress relief.

Avoid negative coping mechanisms

When coping with cancer, it may be easy to fall into bad habits. Relieving stress with illicit drugs, alcohol, or overeating may seem comfortable at first, but it can take a toll on you in the long run.

Celebrate your success

Every once in awhile, stop what you’re doing and reward yourself for all of your hard work. Anything from going out for a nice meal to taking the night off to soak in a warm bath will do the trick.

Therapy

reducing stress during chemotherapy

Animal assisted therapy

Who doesn’t love puppies? Animal assisted therapy can help you cope with both the physical and emotional stress of chemotherapy. Check out Healthline for more information.

Therapy

The goal of therapy is to help people “live happier, healthier, and more productive lives,” making it a great option for struggling cancer patients. Ask your physician for more information.

Physical therapy

While you might associate physical therapy with sports related injuries, it can help during cancer treatment as well. According to Cancer.net, physical therapists can “apply functional training, strengthening, fatigue-combating interventions… and relaxation techniques,” that are useful for those fighting cancer.

Spa

Though a trip to the spa doesn’t technically count as therapy, it can be extremely therapeutic. There are many spa resorts that have special treatment for cancer patients, and some are even free!

Energy

reducing stress during chemotherapy

Tai chi and qi gong

The slow, deliberate movements and breathing techniques associated with tai chi and qi gong can help to relieve stress. These low-impact exercises can also be adjusted to accommodate your physical abilities.

Reiki sessions

Reiki is an ancient technique that focuses on redirecting energy to relieve pain, speed healing, improve sleep, and reduce stress. Though reiki does not treat cancer, it may help relieve some of the pain associated with chemotherapy.

Biofeedback

By using electrodes attached to your skin, biofeedback works towards helping you gain control of nonvoluntary functions and manage stress.

Yoga

According to WebMD, “Practicing yoga postures and controlled breathing exercises can help you manage stress and anxiety.” There are many different styles and levels of yoga suited for a variety of ages and abilities. Here is a chart to help you get started.

Identity

reducing stress during chemotherapy

Visualize getting better

Even something as simple as just imagining yourself in remission can make you feel better. The American Cancer Association recommends not thinking about your illness as a healthy way to cope.

Read inspirational books

Getting advice from experts and hearing the stories of people who have been in similar situations may help give you the strength to keep fighting your own personal battle.

Be social

Instead of trying to cope with your illness completely on your own, it may be helpful to set aside some time to meet with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company.

Write in a journal

A journal is a good way to express yourself without reservation. Allow yourself time to write about any emotions you may be uncomfortable sharing with others.

Discover a new hobby

Hobbies are great for not only passing time, but also for making you feel accomplished. Things like learning a new language, playing an instrument, or picking up knitting can be highly rewarding.

Check out wigs, hats, scarfs, etc.

Chemotherapy may lead to hair loss and drastic changes in appearance can cause stress. To counteract this, try shopping for accessories that will highlight your personal style and make you feel confident.

Give yourself permission to be happy or sad

With or without cancer, it’s unrealistic to expect to be happy every day. Give yourself time to be sad, but don’t let it consume you; make sure you allow yourself time to be happy, too!

Community

reducing stress during chemotherapy

Faith community

If you are religious, try connecting with people in your place of worship. The spiritual bond you share with members of your faith community may give you additional strength.

Cancer support groups

Sharing experiences and advice with those going through similar things will let you know that you are not alone in your battle with cancer. You can even find support groups online if you are uncomfortable with the idea of meeting in person.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You can’t do everything on your own, and there is no shame in asking for help. Friends and loved ones will be understanding of your circumstances, and getting their help for simple tasks can reduce your stress levels.

Sources:

http://www.cancercenter.com/community/thrive/managing-stress-and-cancer/

http://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/managing-emotions/managing-stress

http://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2014/07/five-tips-for-managing-stress-during-cancer-treatment

http://guide2chemo.com/20-ways-to-take-care-of-yourself-during-chemo

Which methods work for you? Let us know by commenting below.

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