Listening to Your Body During Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatment can be exhausting for a variety of reasons. There is both the physical and emotional burden of trying to tackle the disease and continue with a life that seems to have been forever altered. Women especially often feel a tremendous pressure to stay in their schedule – juggling home, work, and sometimes children with their cancer treatments. And, in the end, the unwillingness to listen to their body can put them in a vulnerable position with regard to recovery and maintaining strength.

There’s no better time than during cancer treatment than to really tune into your body and listen to what it has to say. If it’s saying that you need to rest, then you need to rest. No questions asked. Ignoring the signals that your body is sending you will only delay your healing and not provide you the strength you need to continue the fight.

It really comes down to commonsense in terms of tuning into yourself. If you feel hungry, then eat a healthy meal or snack, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and don’t feel afraid to say no when you need to say no. It’s not necessary to stay engaged in all your normal activities at the level that you had been participating. You are not in a contest and you won’t win a medal for for exhausting yourself.

To this end, it’s okay – and encouraged – that you ask for help. Call upon your friends and family who have likely offered to help along the way and take them up on their offers. Have them run errands, accept meals when they are offered, have someone else drive the carpool, and speak up when you need a timeout or a nap.

Your body will tell you firmly and loudly what it needs. Make sure that you keep your eyes and ears open so that you can tap into what it is that you need to stay strong and healthy.

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