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Looking for ways to support breast cancer patients in your life? Or maybe you’re the patient looking for ways to treat yourself! Here are some carefully-curated self-care breast cancer self care items that will lift your spirits.
Include one or all of them in a basket or bag to make a great care package breast cancer patients.
Looking for more ideas? Check out my Breast Cancer Store — it’s filled with products for patients and survivors.
Coloring Books (for Grown Ups!)
“I’m bored!” How many of us have shouted that out as a child? As we get older, getting “bored” is a welcome change. Our new normal seems to be a regular dose of stress and chaos. When I was a child, the remedy to boredom, often, was coloring.
I remember having favorite coloring books and special crayons. Who didn’t love the brand-new box of Crayola crayons? A 64-count box was always on my Christmas list. I used to spend so much time choosing just the right picture to color. I always took my time and I used to love the end result. Then I would rip it out of the book and stick it on the refrigerator to admire my masterpiece.
I used to do the same thing with my children’s coloring creations. Secretly hoping they would want me to sit down and color a picture with them. They were in awe of my ability to stay within the lines. The older they got, the less marks outside the lines for them too. They were so proud of their final products. Then they started the critique of the finished coloring pages, which would run right into mealtime. The discussions covering everything from the type of picture to the choice of color. A happy pastime for sure.
Now that I my children are adults; coloring has long been a thing of the past. Recently, I happened upon an adult coloring book and I was intrigued. I used to love to color and it brought back so many happy memories. I was curious to know if there were any potential benefits of this adult coloring phenomenon.
I found a great article that supports the theory that coloring for adults may be beneficial. Dr. Nikki Martinez explains how coloring can help with things like focus, distraction from negative habits and being mindful.
When we are in the throws of stress and anxiety, slowing down and redirecting our thoughts can help us to be calmer. During chemotherapy treatment, for example, there are a few hours that we must sit and face our biggest fear, our cancer. I couldn’t focus on much during my treatments, but I wish I had thought to bring a coloring book!
An (adult) coloring book is a great passer of the time. It’s easy, fun and distracting, in a positive way. We focus on choosing colors and seeing the picture come to life. We are challenged only to stay in the lines. Coloring can help us to stay in the present moment, to be mindful of what we are doing.
Adult coloring can take us to a happy place, even for a few minutes, during treatment, when we are feeling down or waiting for test results. I’ve got time for that.
I love tea. It is one of the most comforting beverages I can think of. One of my fondest memories as a little girl, involves tea. My dad used to make me tea when I was sick. I remember hearing him come home from work and he would come upstairs to see how I was feeling. When he did, he always had a cup of tea for me. My favorite part of being sick was the time I spent with my dad while I drank my tea. It always tasted so good.
As I got older, my father and I would have some important conversations over a freshly brewed pot of tea. I used to love how he could also brew great tea from the leaves and not need a teabag. I need to use a teabag! Tea became a very comforting drink for me.
Now, as an adult, I use tea for “me” time. Having a cup of tea is an event for me. I make sure to plan my teatime so that I am not disturbed. I like to have my tea from a special cup and sip it slowly. I don’t do anything while I am drinking my tea. I pick a spot with a beautiful view, sometimes from a room in my home looking out over the pond. If I am out, I might take my tea to a bench in a park or looking out a large window. The window may be overlooking a busy street or falling snow. It relaxes me and makes me feel comforted.
Research on tea is positive. Green tea, black tea, herbal tea, all show benefits to those who drink it. A study in the British Journal of Cancer concluded that drinking tea may decrease the risk of cancer, and green tea may be protective against breast cancer.
I used to love going to the beach, after the tourists were gone in September. Sometimes my husband and I would go a bit early and read while we listened to the ocean. When the sun started to go down, we would pour a glass of wine and enjoy it while we watched the sunset. It was extremely relaxing, and those are memories I still enjoy thinking back on. A cooler, some snacks, and the ocean.
Self-Care doesn’t necessarily equal being alone. You can go to a park or a lake and take a basket or cooler with you and enjoy nature or read a book. You can share time with a friend or a loved one and pack a snack and enjoy each other’s company. Maybe you go early to a child’s sporting event or stay late afterward. Packing some drinks and snacks and just enjoying where you are can be very self-soothing. No phones, no responsibilities, and no stress.
Breast Cancer treatment comes with fatigue. We want to be with friends and loved ones, but we get tuckered out. I remember it taking a while after treatments before I felt back to my normal energy level. Having a drinks and snacks on hand when you are out can come in handy. A picnic blanket also gives you some place to sit down and enjoy festivities, while you rest a bit.
Sound like the kind of “me time” you would enjoy? Think about a picnic set so it’s easy to pack snacks and drinks whenever you want to unwind. I like this particular insulated basket for “picnics” because it keeps food warm and drinks cold. The basket is also good for long road trips and sporting events. It fits easily in the car. It comes with a waterproof blanket to sit on that keeps you dry even if the ground is wet.
Buy it here on Amazon!
Breast Cancer Journal
I am not perfect, but I try to be and it’s stressful. I am easily overwhelmed and I try to jam too much stuff into one day. I see it as a side effect of surviving breast cancer, and having to face my own mortality. I don’t want to waste a single minute and I forget to enjoy what I am doing and experiencing. Part of the joy of being on this earth is to derive pleasure from our time here, not just fill it up until it passes.
I found that the easiest way for me to relax and revel in everything that I am stuffing into my very active life, is to journal. It makes you slow down and really spend time on what you experience in the course of the day. Remember the good things, and check in with your feelings. I look forward to putting down in writing what is great about today. It is very calming to me.
I invite you to give it a try, if you haven’t before, or if you have stopped for some reason. It is easy to pick back up. It takes very little time and gives you “happy thoughts” to fall asleep with at night. (That is when I journal). I love this particular journal because it guides you through different ways to identify the positive things you encountered in your day. Sometimes we move so fast, we don’t even take time to appreciate seeing a rainbow or making someone smile. Keeping a journal helps you to take delight in each moment, without making it a chore.
Don’t miss the delightful moments you are gifted each day. Make time to acknowledge and take pleasure in them.
You can buy this journal here.
Breast Cancer Inspirational Water Bottle
Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is important for everyone, everyday. Water flushes your system and keeps your body functioning properly. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water but this bottle is a sure motivator.
The back gives you some positive reinforcement while measuring how much water you’ve had. I love products that serve a purpose and motivate me!
Buy it here!
Bath & Body Works “Comfort” Lotion and Body Wash
I think I could give Toucan Sam a run for his money. I am very in touch with my sense of smell. I find that scents actually can alter my mood, and certain scents even calm me. I have been like this my whole life. I think a lot of people are and they just aren’t in tuned with what they are smelling.
Certain odors give me bad vibes, not just because they smell bad, but more because of the memories that they evoke in me. I link many memories, most memories, to scents.
I dislike the smell of peppermint. For anyone who has suffered through chemotherapy, you know there are certain drugs (Cytoxin?) that cause headaches, or “brain freeze” ,and the suggestion was always to suck on a peppermint. It worked. But, UGH. Scratch Peppermint off the list for me.
With that said, there are lots of great scents that bring back super memories.
I love the smell of coconut, it reminds me of summer as a child. All the sun lotions were coconut. Pine reminds me of new cars. We always had one of those green trees, the ones to make the car smell good, hanging from the dashboard. I love the smell of turkey or apple pies because it reminds me of the holidays. The aroma of fresh cut grass or freshly brewed coffee brings my dad to mind. The list goes on.
What I find is that if I have the right “smell” it can truly turn my mood around. I can feel more relaxed or comforted by the memories that are evoked by certain fragrances. I have always loved aromatherapy and the calming impact it has on me.
One way that I pamper myself, and start my day with positive self care, is to use calming scents in shower. My soaps and lotions are all fragrantly pleasing, but I found that this mixture called “Comfort” is truly that. I start my day with a sudsy shower and inhale the scent to calm and relax me, before the stress tries to creep in. It is subtle, not overwhelming, and I find it helps me start the day with a feeling of being “centered”.
I like this particular set because it has the bath soap as well as the lotion. If I find my day to be truly challenging, I just use the hand lotion and it reminds me of the place I started my day…calm and ready to take on the world.
Buy it here!
Don’t forget: My Breast Cancer Store is filled with more great gift ideas and products for breast cancer patients and survivors.