Practicing Self Care
From the moment you learn that you, or someone you love, has melanoma, you will face a variety of challenging decisions and at times, overwhelming circumstances. Learning to live and manage this new normal will take time. Throughout your journey with melanoma, it’s important to listen to your body, give yourself some slack, and to remember that you are more than any diagnosis.
Here are five strategies and tips to practicing self care:
Practice a Different Kind of Self-Care
Self-care can mean many different things depending on who and when you ask. Redefining – and recommitting – to self-care is important as you manage your diagnosis and treatment. After learning you have melanoma, self-care might begin to look different – such as gentle yoga instead of marathon training – or it may stay exactly the same. Making time and space in your life to take care of yourself – whatever that may mean – is more important now than ever.
Remember That ‘No’s’ are OK
There may come a time where your friends and family or coworkers invite you somewhere, ask for help, or just want to see you. A part of you may even want to agree – but remember – you should not feel obligated to. While frequently easier said than done, politely declining can be a way to reclaim control over what is happening and give you the time and space you need to heal, process, and take care of yourself. Sometimes, all you want in life is a good book or a nap, and that’s okay.
Do More of What You Love
You are dealing with a lot right now, and if there is ever an appropriate time to do more of what you love, this is it. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to cook, garden, read more, watch reality television, or develop a yoga practice – now is a perfect time. By reclaiming what you love – and by intentionally integrating it into your life – you can help yourself heal from and cope with this experience.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Pace
Whether at home or at work – you might want or need to change your pace to match how you are feeling. It’s not uncommon for people with melanoma to need personal days to rest during and after treatment. It’s important to remember that this is okay – and a normal part of the process. Listen to your body.
Let Go of Any Guilt
Guilt is just one of many powerful emotions that people living with, and surviving from melanoma deal with. You may feel guilty for past actions that may have put you at greater risk for developing melanoma, for disrupting the routines of friends or family, or even signs of classic ‘survivor guilt.’ These feelings may linger long after you discontinue treatment. Talking about your feelings, joining support groups, or seeing a professional with experience in this area are all great ways to process and let go of any guilt related to your diagnosis. Feeling guilt – or a sense of blame for what is happening – is far too common for people living with melanoma.
Were you or a loved one just diagnosed with melanoma? We have the resources to help.