It looks like you are using an older version of Internet Explorer which is not supported. We advise that you update your browser to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, or
consider using other browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
Living Well With Melanoma > Looking After Yourself
Living with melanoma can have an impact on all aspects of your life.1 That’s why looking after yourself is especially important. But what does looking after yourself mean? And how can you do it when you’re facing other challenges? There are simple things you can do every day that can help you feel better and live better with melanoma. Small things can make a big difference.
Taking time to relax can be a good way to manage the challenges of everyday life and the challenges of living with melanoma.2
When it comes to relaxing, sometimes it’s easier said than done. But just like anything else, relaxation is a skill that we can learn by practicing it. The trick is to give a few things a try and see what works best for you.
There are lots of ways to relax. Some ways are designed to relax your mind, and some focus on relaxing your body. But because mind and body are connected, many methods help relax both. Here are a few you can try.
Aim to schedule at least one relaxing activity every day. Most of these activities take as little as 15 minutes to do. But why stop there? If you continue longer, your mind and your body will thank you for it!
Exercise is an important part of looking after yourself. It can help you feel better, both physically and emotionally. Pain and fatigue can make it harder to exercise, but exercise can ease these symptoms. Be sure to talk with your doctor before you start an exercise program or change your level of physical activity.
Here are a few exercise tips:
Be sure to talk with your doctor about which of these activities are appropriate for you.
It’s important to pace yourself throughout the day. Pacing is about finding a balance between times of activity and times of rest. Resting is important because it gives your body time to repair and recover. Even when your daily life is keeping you busy, remember that taking a break may help you do more over the long term.2
Pacing is also important when you’re feeling fatigued or out of energy, which is common for those living with melanoma. When you feel very tired, being active is often the last thing you want to do. These tips for pacing yourself may help:2
We often don’t appreciate sleep until we have sleep problems. If we don’t get the sleep we need, it can be harder to function during the day. It can affect how we think, feel, and behave. There are many types of sleep problems, like5:
Because of sleep’s effect on physical health, emotions, and thinking, better sleep may help to create daily life improvements while on treatment for cancer.11 If you have a sleep problem, these tips may help you get a better night’s sleep.
You may have heard that 8 hours of sleep is considered a good night’s rest, but everyone is different. For most adults, experts recommend anywhere from 6 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Older adults generally need less sleep. People being treated for cancer may tire more easily and need extra sleep. They may also have a harder time falling asleep. If you have fatigue, you may also need more sleep. You should try to sleep as much as possible to rest your body. If you think you're not getting the right amount of sleep, ask your doctor for advice on what you can do.6
If you don’t think you’re getting enough sleep, give these tips a try. Some might lead to changes that are quite easy, while others may seem harder. Some people may already know what they need to change. For instance, if you drink a lot of coffee in the evenings, you may want to consider cutting back.6,7 For others, it might be less obvious, so it will be worth trying a few tips to see what works best.
The body is very good at linking physical states (like sleepiness) with objects or places (like the bedroom). These are a few steps you can take to ensure that you rest better at night:
Our body image is formed by years of making judgments about how we look. We tend to exaggerate what we don’t like and downplay the good parts. It’s true for almost everyone, but it can be especially true for people living cancer.
Living with melanoma may have changed the way you think about your body. It also may have made you more likely to make negative judgments about your body. Your body may not look or feel the way it did before you had cancer. You may be more aware of certain aspects of your body.9
You may also be more self-conscious of what parts of your body you let others see.9 This is especially true if you have feelings of guilt: maybe you think you wouldn’t have melanoma if you had made different lifestyle choices. The site of the scar may be a visible reminder of that.
But it’s important to remember that our negative thoughts about our body image might not be true. Our partners and those around us are generally more accepting of our bodies than we are. Learning to accept the changes in our bodies can be hard. Next time you’re in front of the mirror, say to yourself: “I accept and embrace my body the way it is.”
Your body has gone through a lot, and it continues to endure a lot now. Why not celebrate that? Your body deserves some love and care for all it is going through. Below are a few ideas for pampering it:
For the latest guidelines during the pandemic, visit World Health Organization