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Surviving Cancer and the winter blues



Has anyone else been touched by the winter blues (seasonal affective disorder, SAD)?


I must admit I have! The string of cloudy, dreary days sucks my energy at times.


☀️The sun and vitamin D not only boost your mood but your health as well!☀️

Some benefits of vitamin D are:

  • prevent harmful inflammation

  • reduces the cancer risk in older adults

  • decreases breast cancer risk

  • weakens chemotherapy side effects

  • extends lifespans of cancer patients

When I wrapped up cancer treatment, it was right before the holiday season. The days were shorter, darker, and colder. That did not make things easier during a time when I was left to pick up the pieces. Everything felt heavier.

Cold weather poses a health risk to cancer patients. Mainly due to the side effects of cancer treatment, which can make them more susceptible to cold weather dangers. Some cancer treatments cause dehydration, fatigue, and anemia, which make people more sensitive to the cold.


Imagine a cancer patient who is going through treatment. They have to put on layers of clothes. They have to get out in the cold and snow to travel to their appointments. This creates more stress and uncertainty. They have to quarantine because their immune systems are compromised. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Below are some tips to help work through the winter blues.

  • Take a walk outside, open your blinds, or sit near a window.

  • Invest in a lightbox or SAD lamp.

  • Exercise or physical activity can increase serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone in the body, and decrease stress and anxiety.

  • Mindfulness activities like meditation, guided imagery, and journaling can help you process your emotions and thoughts in a healthy way.

  • Create a schedule for sleeping and eating meals. Sources say that doing so can help improve sleep and maintain a healthy weight. Both can decrease depression.


What has been your experience with seasonal affective disorder?



References:

  1. Soak Up The Sun! 19 Awesome Health Benefits From Vitamin D, According To Studies. Available at: https://studyfinds.org/vitamin-d-health-benefits/


Let's keep Navigating Cancer TOGETHER!


Blessings!


Talaya, BCPA

The Cancer Doula


 


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