Mesothelioma Self-Care Tips for Patients and Caregivers
Mesothelioma is a life-altering diagnosis that impacts not just physical health, but also financial and emotional well-being. Prioritizing mesothelioma self-care can help both patients and caregivers manage their emotional health and find strength to face the various challenges that accompany the disease.
The Importance of Mesothelioma Self-Care
After a mesothelioma diagnosis, patients experience both the physical effects of treatment and emotional effects of major life changes, like being unable to work. Caring for a cancer patient is also physically and emotionally difficult for family members.
At the same time, it’s beneficial for both patients and caregivers to reduce stress and take care of their bodies. Mesothelioma self-care can help you cope with diagnosis and treatment, reduce stress, relieve negative emotions and improve quality of life.
5 Effective Mesothelioma Self-Care Practices
Self-care looks different for everyone. What one person finds relaxing may not be a good fit for someone else. However, for patients with a serious cancer like mesothelioma, self-care typically means incorporating activities into your life that increase positive emotions without requiring too much energy. For caregivers, self-care might include activities that allow you to rest and recharge. Start with this list and see what works for you.
1. Talk to Other People
Talking with others can make you feel less alone and help release pent-up negative emotions so that you can move past them. It can also help you break your experiences down into smaller parts so that you can better understand them. There are numerous ways for cancer patients to find support, including connecting with loved ones and friends and talking to a therapist or a mesothelioma specialist.
Support groups are another popular form of mesothelioma self-care—and thanks to the internet, you can meet with others like you without even leaving your home. The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation offers a monthly support group for patients and caregivers that meets via Zoom. CancerCare, a nonprofit cancer support organization, offers online group counseling administered by oncology social workers, as well as a telephone line. You can also search online for in-person meetings near you, Facebook groups and discussion boards.
2. Practice Good Nutrition
Proper nutrition helps support your immune system so that it has what it needs to fight your mesothelioma. Your body needs calories to maintain a healthy weight and protein to rebuild your muscles and tissues. Yet, mesothelioma treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can make food seem unappetizing or leave you feeling too tired to eat.
Your doctor may make recommendations for a certain diet or supplements to support your treatment plan.
3. Make Time for Rest
Sleep is as vital to human survival as food and water. Your immune system, brain, lungs and heart all depend on sleep to stay strong and resist disease. Most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, and those with chronic illnesses like cancer may need more.
Both the symptoms of mesothelioma, like shortness of breath, and the side effects of treatment can interfere with sleep. Family members experiencing high stress may also experience disrupted sleep. Here are some tips for restful sleep:
- Avoid looking at screens for 2 hours before bed.
- Dim the lights.
- Drink a warm beverage like a calming tea.
- Finish eating dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Read a book by lamplight.
- Take a warm bath or shower.
4. Find Activities That Reduce Stress
After a cancer diagnosis like mesothelioma, self-care should always include stress reduction strategies. By reducing your stress, you can help lessen anxiety, get better sleep, have more energy and improve your quality of life. Some of the most popular relaxing activities for mesothelioma patients and caregivers are:
- Gentle movement, like walking. Always talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount of physical activity, which could vary based on your mesothelioma stage and overall health.
- Getting out in nature. Go to the park, do some light gardening or just talk a stroll down the street.
- Meditation. This may help improve your mood and sleep quality.
5. Check in With Your Emotions
Like online groups or professional support, reflective activities can be an important part of mesothelioma self-care by helping you process what you’re going through. One of the most popular types of self-reflection is journaling, which can take many different forms. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Dreams, which you should record right when you wake up. Then look back and try to interpret them, if you wish.
- Letters to loved ones or people from your past. You don’t need to send them if you don’t want to.
- Lists, such as ten personal strengths, five ways your life has changed since your diagnosis or others.
- Memories, like your favorite childhood moments, times you’ve successfully overcome challenges or previous life-changing experiences.
- Quotes and sayings you like, which you can use to inspire journaling when needed.
- Things you’re grateful for, which can help you stay positive in tough times.
Coloring books may also help relieve stress and anxiety. You could combine journaling and coloring or include additions like daily affirmations or journaling exercises. There are also coloring books specifically for cancer patients. A quick search online will bring up plenty of results.
How to Prioritize Mesothelioma Self-Care
A mesothelioma diagnosis is a difficult time for both patients and families. Treatment can be hard on the body, while anxiety around mesothelioma survival and the stress of dealing with uncertainty can be hard on the mind. Thankfully, there is support available, from family and friends to doctors and therapists, plus the many mesothelioma self-care activities you can undertake on your own.
Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit should not add to your stress during this time. At Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney and Meisenkothen, our attorneys will fight for you in court without interrupting your care or your time with loved ones. And the compensation you may receive could help alleviate your financial burdens. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to see how we can help you.
What are some self-care practices for mesothelioma patients and caregivers?
Mesothelioma patients and caregivers alike should practice self-care that helps reduce stress and nourish their bodies and minds. Proper nutrition, sleep and gentle exercise all promote physical health. Processing your emotions by talking with others in support groups or in therapy, or by journaling or coloring, can be beneficial for your mental health.
How can I find support resources for mesothelioma self-care?
There are many support resources for mesothelioma patients and families. You can search the internet to find in-person support groups or ask medical professionals near you. Several organizations run online groups, including the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the American Cancer Society and CancerCare. You can also find ideas for mesothelioma self-care practices online, including journaling, coloring books and how-to guides for yoga, tai chi and meditation.
What are the benefits of practicing self-care with a mesothelioma diagnosis?
Mesothelioma self-care may help you manage symptoms by reducing stress, which could help you get better sleep, improve your immune system and elevate your mood. Self-care activities like getting proper nutrition may also help keep your body strong so you can fight the disease. Overall, most cancer patients find that self-care helps give them a higher quality of life.
Disclaimer: The content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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Request a free case evaluation now if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The evaluation will cost you nothing. Our lawyers will travel to visit you at your convenience or conference call with you over the phone. We understand how difficult a time this is for you and will assist in any way that we can. You can also call us toll-free at 1-800-336-0086 at any time.