Living Well

While colorectal cancer may seem like the most important part of your life, it’s important to remember that you are still in control. Though you can’t change the cancer itself, you can choose your behaviours and the way that you live, which can help you adopt a more positive mindset and feel more prepared to take on the cancer.

Exercise

Regular physical activity can improve your overall mood, as well as make you feel stronger and more fit. It’s important to return to your normal daily activities as soon as possible following diagnosis. If you don’t have the energy for intense exercise, just do what you can. Walking works!

Nutrition

Most of the digestive side effects of treatment will go away after treatment ends, such as nausea and vomiting. Eating well can help you regain your strength, rebuild tissue, and feel better overall. If there is a dietitian on your healthcare team, talk with them to create a nutritious, balanced eating plan.

Eat a variety of foods from all food groups, prioritizing high-fibre food and fruits. Limit intake of fat, red meat, and smoked or pickled foods.

Other tips

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Rest. A 20 minute cat-nap can do wonders.
  • Learn to focus on your breathing (or even meditate).
  • Read, do puzzles, colour. These activities can lower blood pressure.
  • Take up a hobby. Maybe you knitted or did woodwork years ago, try it again!
  • Allow yourself to have a pity party when you are feeling overwhelmed. A good cry releases negative energies.
  • It’s ok to spend a day in bed but if you are depressed and find yourself in bed a lot, it’s time to talk to your doctor about depression and ways to manage it.
  • Be mindful of the good in your life. Write down 3 things each day you are grateful for.
  • Try yoga, reike, or acupuncture (many cancer centres now offer these complementary therapies).
  • Massages can help manage stress. This is especially good for single patients who do not have enough human touch in their lives.
  • Schedule time with friends and family to have activities on the calendar to look forward to. Meeting for coffee, lunch or shopping can help you feel less alone.
  • Take a hot bath with candles.
  • Try to spend time in nature as often as you can. Find a good hike, walk around a lake, or visit the beach if you’re lucky to live close to one.
  • Find a good therapist who specializes in cancer patients.

 

Information taken from Colorectal Cancer Alliance.