Our Top Tips
Cancer’s hard. No two ways about it. Diagnosis and treatment can be frightening and draining, and even after you’ve made it past those hurdles, you have to learn how to make your way through life as a cancer survivor. It also affects the health of your family, friends and support network. With modern medicine, though, millions of survivors are not only living longer, but they’re also learning to live better. And one of the best ways of doing that is to take steps to take control your health.
Adopting healthy behaviours can go a long way toward improving your long term health and wellbeing and they’re not as difficult as you might think.
So take control of your health, and encourage your family to do the same. Choose one or two of the behaviours below to start with. Once you’ve got those sorted, move on to the others.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Keeping your weight in check is often easier said than done, but a few simple tips can help. First off, if you’re overweight, focus initially on not gaining any more weight. This by itself can improve your health. Then, when you’re ready, try to take off some extra pounds for an even greater health boost.
Few things are as good for you as regular physical activity. While it can be hard to find the time, it’s important to try to fit in at least 30 minutes of activity every day. This doesn’t necessarily mean a hard session at the gym, simply taking the stairs or doing the gardening.
- Choose activities you enjoy. Many things count as exercise, including walking, gardening and dancing.
- Make exercise a habit by setting aside the same time for it each day. Try going to the gym at lunchtime or taking a walk regularly after dinner.
- Stay motivated by exercising with someone.
You’ve heard it before: If you smoke, quitting is absolutely the best thing you can do for your health. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s also far from impossible.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Despite confusing news reports, the basics of healthy eating are actually quite straightforward. You should focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and keep red meat to a minimum. It’s also important to cut back on bad fats (saturated and trans fats) and choose healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) more often.
- Make fruits and vegetables a part of every meal. Put fruit on your cereal. Eat vegetables as a snack.
- Choose chicken, fish or beans instead of red meat.
- Choose whole-grain cereal, brown rice and whole-wheat bread over their more refined counterparts.
- Choose dishes made with olive or canola oil, which are high in healthy fats.
- Cut back on fast food and processed snacks (like biscuits and cakes), which are high in bad fats.
- Eat foods in as natural a state as possible.
- Cut down or eliminate added sugars: cut down on sugary drinks, sweets, chocolate, cakes and biscuits. Watch out also for foods that have surprisingly high amounts of added sugar like breakfast cereals, ready meals, pasta sauces and yoghurts.
Breathe And Be Calm
This is the first (and most important) move you can make when you feel things getting out of control. Your breath is the gateway to your intuition — it will help you navigate the noise. Breathe and listen. Your breath also has the power to reduce stress. When we’re in prolonged fight or flight mode, it’s hard to make decisions and easy to get depressed, anxious and exhausted. Breathe. If you feel the panic setting in, here is a proven strategy to help you feel less anxious:
Breathe deeply, in through your nose, out through your mouth
Slowly look around you and find…
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can touch
- 3 things you can hear
- 2 things you can smell
- 1 emotion you feel
This simple exercise should help any time you feel that things are getting out of control.
Choose Safe Personal Care And Cleaning Products.
The average person uses 9 personal care products per day containing about 126 chemical ingredients. Alot of the chemicals found in personal care products havebeen linked to increased risks of cancer, infertility, birth defects, hormone disruption, etc. Babies, children, teens, adults — we’re all exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis and there’s still much we do not know about their long-term health effects. The same holds true for household cleaning products. Is your washing up liquid or your floor cleaner safe? Make it your business to find out if the cream you put on your skin or the cleaning product you use in your home, is safe.
A good night’s sleep, especially between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., will help you heal — for real. Not only will you be able to respond to treatments better, but restful sleep activates your body’s own regenerative abilities. Keep your room cool, block out all light, ditch caffeine by noon, cut back on alcohol (alcohol disrupts melatonin and blood sugar), give yourself time to wind down with pre bed mindfulness.