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After a Cancer Diagnosis, 10 Tips for Summer Self-Care


After a cancer diagnosis, 10 tips for summer self-care.

For many of us summer is in full swing. There are tons of things going on and plenty to keep us busy. There is a tendency to pack a whole lot, often too much, into summer months. And during the second half of summer, things can get more hectic once the back-to-school frenzy and August urgency sets in.

Hence, the temptation to over-do stuff, especially outdoor stuff, is always there. I don’t know about you, but I am finding that since cancer, how I “do summer” has changed too.  

What do I mean?

Well, basically, I am finding that I’ve had to “let up and/or let go” just a bit, okay a lot, and this becomes more apparent at various times of the year and one of these times is the summer months.

I can’t do all I used to do before cancer. I just can’t. Example? Weeds.

Need I say more? 

So, I’ve been thinking about a few things for me, and perhaps for you as well, to keep in mind for summer months. I would love your input on these “simple” summer strategies, so I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments. 

After a cancer diagnosis, 10 tips for summer self-care:

  • Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water of course. For some great ideas on how to make your water taste a bit more interesting, check out this post via Everyday Health with ideas for jazzing up your water by turning ice cubes into more than just floating chunks of ice. I am going to try some of these!

  • Take precaution when out in the sun. Some of these drugs we’re on, can make us extra sun sensitive too. So use caution when out in the sun for extended periods, in fact, when out in the sun at all. Wear the cap/hat and sunscreen.

  • I don’t know about you, but I worry more about lymphedema flare-ups during the summer months because I “normally” tend to swell in the summer as many of us do. How do you tell the difference between normal edema-type swelling and lymphedema? I always wonder about this and even more so during summer months.

  • If you’re at risk for LE, take precautions when gardening by wearing gloves and avoiding cuts, scrapes and insect bites as much as possible.

  • Enjoy the fresh fruits and veggies more readily available during summer months. Summer is a great time to check out your local farmers market.

  • Unplug for a bit and maybe leave your phone indoors now and then too. Yikes! I need to work on this one. Take advantage of the nicer weather and get outside whenever you can. Try to be more active doing things you enjoy (at least sort of enjoy) doing.

  • BUT, don’t over do it! Exercise safely. This means whatever it means for you and your particular situation.This is definitely something for all of us to keep in mind.

  • Say no and stay home whenever you darn please. Enough said.

  • Stress less and try not to worry about things out of your control. For example, if you are parenting young children through cancer treatment or cancer fallout, try not to stress out about not signing them up for (or if you did sign up, not getting them to) all those summer activities just because you used to do so or because it seems all their friends are signing up and/or attending. Remember time spent with you trumps everything else. 

  • Slow down. Sit in the sun with a good book (while wearing your sunscreen of course). Do nothing at all for a few minutes (or longer) every day and make time for you. We don’t call them the lazy days of summer for no reason. 

Sure, most of these are about using common sense, but who doesn’t need a friendly reminder, right?

Remember if you feel the need, making summertime changes and adaptations is perfectly okay.

So go ahead, slow down and enjoy the rest of summer, or whatever season it is where you live.

What summertime changes/adaptations have you made since cancer?

What’s a simple strategy you have for handling summer busyness or stress?

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10 Strategies for Summer Self-Care After a Cancer Diagnosis

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Wednesday 11th of July 2018

I am stage 1b. I cant get mY life back. Depressed. I never was selfish or about me. I lived for others. I just cant get into that. People say do things that you enjoy. I dont know what that means. A friend said get a massage so I reserved one with a friend. But I dont want to go. How do you manage to live for 7 years with this threat of death hanging over you. I worry all the time except when I take meds and the meds dont really work. I cant find my joy. Any one who can help, I appreciate it. Thank you.


Wednesday 11th of July 2018

Kat, It sounds as if you might benefit from some professional counseling. I hope you pursue that to help you deal with your depression and worry. Finding joy again is possible. The old you is gone as is your old life, but life can still be good post diagnosis. I'm sorry you're struggling. I care. Thank you for sharing and my best to you.


Friday 4th of September 2015

Should have taken time to read this sooner.... pulled my shoulder from kayaking! Must learn to rest during the summer!


Monday 7th of September 2015

Mae, Oh dear. Sorry to hear about your shoulder injury. Hope it's feeling better by now. Thank you for reading and sharing though.


Monday 27th of July 2015

I am new to blogging, but I would like to ask what stage cancer a you in? Im in stage 4 in my bones & in constant pain, not sure how to handle it, ive been diagnosed about 8 months now & im realizing this is it, my finally. I wish I could be as positive as you all. Jeannie


Tuesday 28th of July 2015

Jeanie, I am sorry you are dealing with so much. Please do not ever feel you must always remain positive. That is just an extra burden for you. In fact, that whole forced positivity thing is one of my biggest cancer pet peeves. I hope you can seek out support specific to stage 4. There are some potentially helpful groups on Facebook and I know some wonderful metster bloggers. Check out my mets page for some resources. Thank you for sharing.

Beth L. Gainer

Sunday 26th of July 2015

Hi Nancy,

This summer has been crazy-busy, much more so than other summers. Arielle is involved in a lot of activities in July, and that makes things go by fast. My ability to slow down time is definitely not working this summer. Keeping busy has helped tire us both out, and that's a good thing. It also gives me fewer opportunities to think about cancer, so that helps.

Slowing down is good advice. But it's also great to keep busy doing summer activities such as going to the pool and enjoying the outdoors (especially if one is in a location with four seasons). So my advice is, if thoughts of cancer are prevalent, keeping busy helps keep them at bay somewhat.

Excellent post!!


Tuesday 28th of July 2015

Beth, You are entering into those extremely busy parenting years! I'm not sure there is any slowing down in your near future. But of course, no matter how busy you get, it's important to carve out some time whenever you can for just you. As you know. And you're absolutely right. Sometimes keeping busy is a means of coping too, which is totally fine as long as you don't over-do. Enjoy the rest of summer doing whatever brings you and Ari joy. Thank you for reading and sharing.


Thursday 23rd of July 2015

Thank you for sharing these helpful tips, Nancy. It's good to be reminded of them.

I have made a couple of changes since my diagnosis. I now wear sunscreen everyday. I also eat my lunches outside when I am at work, even when I bring food from home. No need to sit inside a restaurant. Simply heat up food, go outside and find a good spot to sit and enjoy the fresh air. Also, even when I am too busy at work, I try to go for walks around the block. I love summer a lot and winter depresses me so I try to take advantage of the heat.


Friday 24th of July 2015

Rebecca, It's wonderful that you try to eat lunch outdoors when you can while at work. Getting outside is usually a mood brightener, well, in the summer months anyway. I try to remember the sunscreen more consistently, too, these days. Thanks for reading and sharing. I certainly need the reminders.

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