Cancer is a difficult disease, one that challenges patients both physically and mentally. And even when a loved one is in remission, the challenges don’t stop there. Recovering from cancer is a long and difficult road, but it is neither impossible nor impassable. Here are a few methods that you can focus on to create a happy, healing, and hopeful home for a loved one’s journey after cancer.
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
Every cancer survivor has the right to their own story — before, during, and after treatment. It can be easy to feel burdened by the countless consequences of the diagnosis. Positive psychology is a way to energize you as you tackle those consequences while also feeling excited and encouraged by the good experiences that have opened up.
Harvard Medical School notes that feeling appreciative and thankful for all life’s gifts — even the lessons learned through the hard times — can have a direct impact on your overall physical and mental health. When your loved one comes home, give them the tools to practice gratitude, such as a peaceful space to write in a gratitude journal or practice meditation.
Clear the Air — and the Mind — of Clutter and Debris
When a loved one comes back home after cancer treatment, it’s not uncommon for them to feel suffocated by the space. It might be filled with medical equipment, flowers, and gifts from well-wishers or clutter they haven’t had time to sort and organize. This could be a good time to clear out space, though it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Not only will the openness feel freeing, but Five2Go.com points out that the processes of clearing and cleaning can also be very cathartic. If your loved one didn’t live with you before, you will want to create this openness ahead of time by sprucing up an extra room. You might need to make room in your garage for storage or even renovate your garage to give them a private and comfortable living space.
Center on Foods That Promote Overall Well-Being
Shaking off the time spent fixated on beating cancer doesn’t happen overnight. Many cancer survivors report symptoms of PTSD — anxiety that the cancer will return, nightmares or night terrors, social anxiety related to talking about their illness, and obsession with physical fitness and wellness. You can help your loved one manage these stressful emotions by gently encouraging and supporting them to try new things. Sign up for one of those meal delivery services and have food adventures right in your own kitchen. Make space in your backyard for gardening and growing organic, seasonal foods you can bring right to your table.
Create Rituals to Encourage Healthy Habits
Your loved one may have trouble sleeping, talking, or feeling motivated after coming home from cancer treatment. It’s important you set up your home so that they can work on these challenges in their own time. For example, if your loved one struggles with sleeping, help them create a bedtime routine by doing gentle yoga together and then running them a warm bath. Make sure their bedroom has blackout curtains and soft lighting to encourage good sleep. You also might consider destressing measures for the whole home environment; simply decluttering and using more natural light during the day can boost nighttime rest.
If your loved one is feeling lethargic, ask them to go on walks with you. For those who have seemed to shut down, the most important ritual is one you create for yourself — being a good listener. Listen to their feelings and try not to push them to open up or insert your own perspective into their situation.
Do a Relevant Online Course, like Nursing or Healing
If you have a sick loved one at home and are wondering how you can care for them effectively, an online course may be the answer. Not only does a course give you needed skills, it also ensures that you can be part of a helpful, supportive community. Getting some training will give you the knowledge and skills needed to provide the care that your loved one needs, whether it’s helping them with their daily activities, administering medication, or carrying out specialized treatment plans. If alternative healing is more appealing to you, find a reliable teacher. For example, Teacher and Healer Vivien Schapera can teach you about the healing power of crystals with her unique courses, that you can even enroll in today!
Additionally, earning the certification online will allow you to complete the coursework from home and set your own schedule, which is ideal if your loved one’s condition often affects your ability to leave the house or take time off from work.
Recovering from cancer is a complex process. There will be highs and lows, ups and downs. So try to create a home that encourages your loved one to be open and honest about their needs and wants. And consider earning a nursing degree to help care for them and administer medication. After all, their comfort in this process is key to a full mind-body recovery.
By Jason Kenner