Emotional Wellness Month: How to Cope with Pediatric Cancer

Emotional Wellness Month

How to Cope with Pediatric Cancer

Illustration of flowers sprouting from smiling faceWhen a child is diagnosed with cancer, it is challenging for the entire family. The very idea that you have to cope with pediatric cancer is frightening. You feel myriad emotions, like guilty, sad, scared, and anger, all at the same time. Learning how to navigate these emotions is essential to overall health and well-being, especially for families facing cancer.

Wellness content is everywhere we look, and it’s easy to feel even more overwhelmed by well-intentioned advice. For emotional wellness this October, we offer possible ways to help you work towards better emotional wellness. To be the best caretaker for others, taking care of yourself first is essential.

What exactly is emotional wellness?

Emotional wellness is a state of being in which one feels secure, supported, and connected. It is a state of mind in which one can cope with stress and manage emotions. It’s about not simply feeling happy but feeling all our emotions in a healthy manner. When we are emotionally well, we can cope with stress and setbacks, nurture our relationships, and pursue our goals. In short, emotional wellness helps us to live our best lives even in the face of adversity.

Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be. There are many different strategies to improve your emotional health. Of course, you don’t need to do all these, but choosing practices that resonate with you can reduce stress and make a big difference in your well-being. Here are some strategies we hope will help you better cope with pediatric cancer. 

Build resilienceNotebook with "I am grateful for" written on it

Or, in other words, the ability to bounce back from difficulties. For families dealing with pediatric cancer, resilience almost becomes inevitable as they face new challenges and hardships daily. Continuing to build resilience will only help you and your loved ones. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Practice gratitude
  • Take time for yourself each day
  • Explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life. It might be helpful to talk to a trusted family member or a church leader in your community

Simply being aware of all things happening in the present and not thinking about the future or the past. There are many recordings on apps like Calm and Headspace that can help guide you through these exercises.

  • Stones with mind, body, and soul writtenBreathing exercises. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 1, and exhale for 5 seconds. Repeating breathing exercises like this will force your mind and body to focus solely on the present.
  • Take a walk and notice your breathing and the sights around you. Note things in your head as you see them, almost like a “I spy” game. Even as thoughts enter your head, you can consider them like a cloud—acknowledge it but divert your attention back to the present and let the thought pass.
  • Practice mindful eating. Different treatments and stressors make foods less appetizing. To better enjoy food, note each bite’s different tastes and textures.
  • Do a body scan. Cancer alone and treatments will cause pain, numbness, or other uncomfortable feelings in the body. Doing a body scan can help your brain reconnect with the body. As you scan from head to toe, focus on the feeling of each part. There are many recordings on apps like Calm and Headspace that can help guide you through these exercises
Get quality sleepAlarm clock illustration

Sleep is an underrated contributor to our well-being and can affect our emotional and physical health. To get better quality sleep, try getting up and going to bed at the same time (our bodies love a schedule). It also might help to limit technology use before bed and sleep in a dark, quiet place.

    Strengthen your support system

    Social connections have been shown to contribute to our health and even lengthen life.

    • Talk to someone who understands: It can be helpful to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. In addition, many support groups are available for families of children with cancer. Here to Serve can help connect you with support groups.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    Find an outlet

    Giving your mind and body a way to release tension and process emotions is essential. Even during the busiest times. Here are a few ideas:

    • Journaling
    • Talking to a friend or counselor
    • Exercising
    Striving for emotional wellness at Here to Serve

    By taking steps to promote emotional wellness in our lives, we can improve our overall well-being and create happier, more fulfilling lives even during the most challenging times.

    Here to Serve does the most to improve emotional wellness by providing you with a family care coordinator to help manage home life. They also connect you with various organizations, support groups, and resources that can contribute to your emotional wellness. Here to Serve offers home needs coordination, which can offload some of life’s everyday burdens from meals, errands, groceries, child and pet care, yard work, and more. In addition, financial support and fundraising assistance are available so you can spend more time with your family and what matters most to you. Learn more about the wide range of services we offer, and if you or someone you know needs support, get help today!

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    1. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings

    2. https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit

    By Emily Rogalin

    All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.