There are many tools and techniques you can use at home to help you deal with the impact of cancer. Below, you will find a range of Self Care tools to help you.
Fatigue Management

Fatigue is a general term used to describe a wide variety of symptoms include exhaustion and extreme tiredness. Each Individual will experience it differently.  Cancer related fatigue is different than the feeling you get if you don’t get enough sleep.  Fatigue interferes with daily life and does not improve with rest.  Most people receiving cancer treatment experience fatigue. 

The video below will give you some tips on how to manage cancer related fatigue. 

Relaxation techniques
This is a good way of helping you relax and can be a useful exercise to do before you go to bed to aid sleep. Click on the video below for a body relaxation demo.

Often when you are anxious you breathe faster. Slowing your breathing down can help reduce your heart rate, reduce you level of anxiety and make you feel more in control. For example, one technique is called ‘breathing for 4’. Breath in slowly for 4, hold for 4, breath out for 4 and hold for 4. If you do this 5 times your breathing will become more relaxed, your heart rate will slow down and you will feel more in control. Click on the video below for a range of techniques to help you control your breathing.

This is a way of taking your mind to a safe relaxing place e.g. beach, walk in the park, imaging the sounds, smells and the relaxation feeling. The video below provides a meditation you can use at home.

A form of meditation that involves fully focusing your attention to the present moment, observing what is happening with a calm, non-judging awareness, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting caught up in them. The aim is to concentrate only on what is happening in the here and now, not the past and not the future as we cannot change the past and often have limited control over the future.

As you apply cream to your hands start to pay attention to your speed when rubbing in the cream… if you are doing this quickly...Can you slow this down?
Pay attention to how the skin feels… is it dry? … is it soft? Feel it soften as the cream soaks in.
Pay attention to the temperature of your hands… are they warm or cool? Are your fingers the same temperature as the rest of your hand?
Are the muscles in your hand tense or relaxed? Invite the muscles to feel soft as you massage the cream in.
Check how you are breathing… is your breath slow or quick. Begin to slow and deepen your breath as you massage the cream into your hands
Using your thumb move gently in circles from the outside of your palm into the centre. Repeat this a few times moving slowly and breathing slowly. Do this on both hands
Using your fingertips move gently in circles on the back of your hand from the outside into the centre
Circle gently up your fingers… paying attention to the front, back and sides of the fingers. Repeat this on both hands. Remember to massage slowly and breathe deeply and slowly
Circle or rub gently along the crease in your palm behind your knuckles. In reflexology this is the reflex for your diaphragm and it can be calming to gently massage this area.
Finish by taking 3 calming breaths and pay attention to how your hands feel now. How does the rest of your body feel now?
Bach Flower Remedies

Developed by Dr Edward Bach in the 1930’s, Bach Flower Remedies gives you a simple way to manage everyday emotions and feel more yourself.  They are safe for use with adults and children. 

There are a range of 38 different Bach Flower Remedies, each dealing with a different emotion.  Remedies can be combined into a unique and personal blend to meet your specific support needs.  Many people have heard of, or used, Rescue Remedy, which is a Bach Flower blend of 5 of the 38 remedies available. 

The video below gives an overview of some of the common Bach Flower remedies used in Action Cancer.

For more detailed information on the range of Bach Flower Remedies, go to: 

Reframing your Thoughts

When facing stressful situations in life, how we view what we are experiencing can increase or minimise our stress.  Reframing is a way to alter how we view the stressors in our lives, help relieve the signs of stress in our bodies and helps us to create a more positive life, even if we cannot actually make any changes in our circumstances. 

Follow these simple steps to learn how to start reframing your thoughts: 

Are they positive or negative? How does this affect how you feel and your level of anxiety? Does your mind race on thinking the worst-case scenario? What things trigger your negative thoughts? How often do you feel this way?
As you notice your negative thoughts, ask yourself – are they true? Will they or have they happened? Are there opportunities in your situation for personal growth? Instead of seeing things the way you always have, challenge every negative thought and see how this could be viewed differently - in a more positive light.
How can you change your negative thoughts to something more positive? How you can learn from the situation? What have been the good things that have happened as a result of past similar situations? Think about what you would say to a friend in a similar situation. Many of us spend too much time dwelling on past mistakes - how can we talk to ourselves in a kinder way? Even the most painful circumstances can teach us positive lessons. Look for the ‘gift’ in every situation.

Thought – I feel lonely and miss my friends. Reframe – but I will see them again.
Thought – I'll do what makes me happy someday. Reframe – I will pursue something today that makes me happy.
Thought – There is so much that could go wrong. Reframe – there is so much that could go right.
Thought – I am too unhappy to make anyone else happy. Reframe – When you catch yourself feeling unhappy do something that makes someone else happy. Happiness is a boomerang.
Thought – This is a really bad time I am going through. Reframe – I've made it through bad times before I can do it again.

Explore a recent negative event or thought.  How can you reframe that situation /thought?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)/Tapping

Energy EFT, developed by Silvia Hartmann, is like acupuncture but without needles. It is based on the theory there are points on the body which we can tap on to relieve emotional/energy blockages in the body.     

EFT helps us release past/present emotions that are holding us back.  Our present emotions are influenced by past events – how we dealt with a similar situation in the past and the consequences.  When we get nervous and stressed our body releases cortisol /stress hormones into our body.  Increased cortisol in the body affects our ability to concentrate and focus and our ability to think rationally.  We can use EFT to not only help us release the stress we felt as a result of a past event but also to give us the confidence we need to deal with a similar future situation.   

The video below takes you through an EFT Tapping process.

Download the EFT Tapping Points guide here.

Safe use of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils. Essential oils work on a physical, emotional and spiritual level and may be used to help optimise health and wellbeing.  Essential oils are highly concentrated substances, extracted from a variety of plants including herbs, shrubs, trees, spices and citrus fruits.  

Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin or taken orally.  There are a few ways that essential oils can be used. 

1: Through smell – oils placed on a tissue, in a diffuser or in an aromastick. 

2: Topically – oils should never be used directly on the skin but should be mixed with a cream or carrier oil such as coconut oil or grapeseed oil. 

3: In a bath – if you are using essential oils in a bath mix first with a small amount of milk to help disperse the oil through the water.  You only need to add 1-2 drops to be effective. 

Some well-known essential oils include: 

Lavender – it relaxes the mind and body, and helps aid in reducing inflammation. It can be used by adding a few drops to a diffuser or on a tissue on your pillow or at the bottom of the bed for a good night’s sleep. 

Chamomile – has a soothing and calming effects on mind and body.  It is also an effective mood booster.  

Frankincense – Helps Reduce Stress Reactions and Negative Emotions.  Also heals skin and prevents signs of aging 

Orange – has antiseptic, toning and stimulating effects.  Also can help stimulate poor digestion 

Geranium – Powerful antimicrobial and antifungal action 

If you are making your own skin product – for every 10mls or 10 grams of cream/base oil use 1 drop of essential oil, this dosage represents less than 1%. 

The video below gives you an overview of using aromatherapy oils safely.

Self-Care Strategies

This video explains the importance of self-care and provides you with examples of things that you can do to support yourself.