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Making time to renew your mind and body

“I knew that in order to be there for my child and my family, I needed to reach a calm place within myself.”

It can be tempting to put your own needs on hold and to focus solely on your child. But it is important to take time for yourself so you have the energy to care for your child.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Find ways to relax and lower stress. Some parents try something new, such as a yoga or deep- breathing class at the hospital. Others are refreshed by being outdoors, even for short periods. Whatever the method or place, find one that feels peaceful to you.
  2. Eat well. Good nutrition will help you keep up your energy and stay healthy. Pack a healthy snack with some fresh fruit. Avoid eating fast food whenever possible.
  3. Get plenty of sleep. Even if we now it is not always easy to get enough sleep. See a doctor if you have trouble sleeping or feel exhausted during the day. Ask friends or family to come and help you so that you can take some power naps.
  4. Stay active to sleep better and stay calm. Try to walk, jog, go to the gym, or follow an exercise DVD. If it’s hard to stay physically active at the hospital, try walking up and down the stairs or around the hospital or unit.
  5. Fill waiting time. Pick a few activities that you enjoy and can do in your child’s room, such as playing a game, reading a book or magazine, writing, or listening to music.
  6. Get feelings out. Write or draw, or choose another way to express your thoughts and feelings.
  7. Rely on your faith or belief system. Some people find that cancer brings a new or deeper meaning to their faith. Others feel  that  their  faith  has  let  them  down. Some parents pray, read religious books, meditate, or talk with spiritual leaders. Sometimes writing in a journal, reading, or simply being still can help.

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