BY LIZZY SMITH As always, discuss dietary restrictions and changes, and physical activity with your doctor prior to making any changes to your lifestyle. We cancer survivors and caregivers put up with enormous stress in our lives—from crazy hard treatments, to side effects, to managing countless appointments and drugs, and the emotional ups and downs of illness. This is enough to push even the strongest of us over the edge. In addition, as we head into cooler temps, if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, we are also more likely to get sick, emotionally and physically. This is good for no one, even those who are already physically healthy. As a myeloma warrior who still gets all kinds of un-fun treatments myself, nothing is more important to me than my health. I have gone through chemo, loss of hair, and no immune system. I came back swinging by doing things that would make me physically and emotionally strong. They work, they really do. Try my Top 10 and I think you will see a huge difference. Ditch Unhealthy Relationships A bad relationship must go—it is essential to achieving happiness and peace. Eliminating or minimizing contact with negative people is essential because they can make you physically and emotionally sick. That doesn’t mean I’m quick to cut people out of my life but since getting cancer, I realize that extremely bad relationships must end because I cannot heal and stay healthy with constant negative energy around me. Take Up Prayer, Medication and/or Yoga Prayer, meditation, and yoga are fantastic for clearing your mind, thinking through tough issues, and making wise decisions. After a few months' break for the summer, I hit up Bikram yoga again recently (in fact, I'm heading there again right after finishing this article), which is 107-degree temperature for 90-minutes. It is a deep emotional and physical purge every time I go. As I sweat out impurities, my mind is cleared too. Meditation and prayer are also fantastic relaxation techniques that calm your soul. Drink Water Staying properly hydrated isn’t even debatable. Drink water all day long. If you need flavor, add lemon or other fruit. Unflavored ice tea or organic coffees without sugar are also healthy alternatives. Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. While you are sipping on healthy beverages all day long, remember to breathe deeply. These are incredibly simple things you can do throughout the day for your health. Wash Your Hands & Keep Them Out Of Your Face The fastest way to catch a cold is to shake hands, push a shopping cart around Costco, or visit your children’s school and then put your hands near your eyes, nose and mouth (I’m so guilty of this!). Keep an organic hand sanitizer with you and use if often (some are extremely toxic). Walk More/Drive Less Costco and Starbucks, two stores I visit most, are literally less than a mile from home. Instead of driving, if I’m not picking up too many items, I walk. The beautiful fall crisp air is amazing. It clears my head and lungs and gives me fresh Vitamin D. Even if you’re shopping, park far away from the store entrance. In really cold weather, walk around a large shopping mall or store so you can get some exercise. Take Baths in Epsom Salt A bath is a fantastic way to relax before going to bed. I love Epsom salts and essential oils so I add them to my bath water. Lavender is naturally calming. Almost without fail, I sleep far better, which is essential to keeping your immune system strong. Make New Friends Get out! Go out! Try a new hobby and talk to those around you. Make new friends, invite them to lunch. Laugh and smile often. This is fun, and fun is great. Put Your Phone Away Have several hours each day where you put all electronic devices away. It is amazing how much life I miss out on while staring at a screen. Sleep! You must get proper rest, there is no other option. If you need a nap, take it. Try to get seven or more hours of sleep every night. Naps are great, too, if your body is calling for it. Be nice and gentle to yourself. Rest is critically important to health and healing. Add Organic Products To Your Beauty Routine I refuse to use lotions, hair products or facial cleansers that aren’t organic and don’t smell fabulously. There are many options, including Burt’s Bees and others that are available at Walmart or Target, so try them. They feel fantastic on skin. Instead of using some lotions, I have swapped with pure organic coconut oil. My legs are never dry or scaly anymore and it is inexpensive. I often add an essential oil to it so it smells great. I personally love grapefruit or peppermint. Yum!
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.