woman winking at herself in the mirror

What Do We Mean When We Say Self-Care?

"Self-care." This is something we hear, see and read about while going through treatments. What do we mean when we say that? I bet lots of things flash through your mind, from bubble baths to walking in nature. Self-care is the things that we do for ourselves in order to protect, maintain, and improve our overall health.

These are the things we do to show ourselves that we love and respect ourselves, and there is never a better time to do it than when you aren't feeling your best. It can be simple things, like putting our make-up on a day that we don't feel like doing it. However, we also know that when we have done it, it will make us feel so much better about ourselves.

Anything that you can do for yourself

Self-care is ANYTHING that you can do for yourself in order to make you feel good and happy about yourself. When having treatment for bladder cancer, self-care is essential for your well being.

What do I mean by this? "We are having treatment and feel utterly rubbish! How can we 'self-care' when we feel so bad?" I hear you cry. You need to have things to do when you feel like doing them, things to look forward to, things to make you "feel" like you are part of the human race, because trust me, when you are feeling the effects of a treatment, you will realize just how long the days are. You will feel that you will never feel human again, and you will spend a lot of time overthinking everything.

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A holistic approach

I have found that having a "holistic" approach, taking care of your mind, body and soul, the "whole" of you, can help in your recovery. Self-care also means looking after your emotional needs, asking for and accepting help when you need it. I know that if you are like me, the thought of not being able to do the things that you "used" to be able to do will be so incredibly frustrating, and you may beat yourself up if you don't feel that you have "achieved" anything on a particular day. Please don't; your body is fighting a huge battle, and it needs you to take good care of it.

Resting is your body's way of healing itself, conserving its strength. Your body will be exhausted; everything will take so much effort, so why push yourself? Your body needs time to recharge itself, and it is so vital that you listen to it. Be kind to yourself: laugh and socialize as much as you can or want to. This will help to lift your spirits, and they say that laughter is the best medicine around.

Eating well

Eat well, too - we are what we eat, so put fuel into your body. Make healthy, nutritious meals, and if you feel really bad, make some smoothies. Smoothies are a good way of getting nutrients into our bodies without having to use too much energy to eat it. Don't deny yourself though; if you really want a cream cake, have a cream cake. As they say "everything in moderation."

Maybe you could plan a small break; this would give you space to be able to relax and chill, without the household chores staring at you all day. Plan a day out, somewhere you have always wanted to go, or plan lunches with friends.

Something to look forward to

Give yourself something to look forward to; I found that that really helped me on the days that I could hardly move from the sofa. It allowed me to realize, and to rationalize the "resting" time by telling myself that "this too will pass," and when it does, I have this to look forward to. I found that, even though we had no idea how I would be feeling that day, I was usually well and looking forward to it.

Living in the moment

Practice "mindfulness." This is extremely helpful when trying to "live in the moment". You can use a guided meditation; there are many out there in the land of the internet. It's all about training yourself to not worry, not stress, not to overthink things, to be able to remain calm in all situations. Mindfulness is about staying present in the "moment", noticing the world around you, and helping to improve your mental state.

There are many, many things you can do to "self-care." Just remember that you are loved, you are safe, and you are in control of YOU.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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