Self-Care During DFSP Journey
Self-care has become an important thing lately, especially for our generation. There are a lot of different activities that can constitute self-care, and of course, they vary by individual. I define self-care as anything you do that shows yourself that you love yourself. I have really taken my self-care habits seriously since I was diagnosed with and started surgical treatment for dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), a rare form of skin cancer that affects 1 in 1 million people.
The self-care tasks I've been doing lately
I do devotionals, write in a gratitude journal, and speak positive self-talk every morning with affirmations. My devotionals include reading my bible and speaking to God through prayers. I understand everyone does not believe in God, but I do, and my relationship with my higher power has truly brought me through every obstacle in my life, including my DFSP skin cancer journey.
Writing 5 things I’m grateful for in a journal every morning sets the foundation to have a great day, and it keeps me in a gratitude mindset at all times. Telling myself I am beautiful, smart, capable, fearfully and wonderfully made, and I can do anything I set my mind to elevates my self-esteem and confidence.
I light a candle every night and I devote an hour to doing something that I enjoy. This can be reading a book, watching a tv show, or journaling, specifically about something that is causing me anxiety. I also light a candle when I’m doing classwork and homework for my doctoral program or documenting for work. I started buying more candles and air fresheners for my house and my car because beautiful smells instantly improve my mood.
I started giving myself mini-facials every morning and every night, which includes alternating charcoal masks and exfoliating every other day. The mini facials take about 5 minutes, and I can leave the charcoal masks on for 15-30 minutes while I do other household tasks. Since starting this a few weeks ago, I have seen improvement in my oily acne-prone skin, which makes me feel better about my self-image.
I set boundaries with work, school, and my activities. I often have to bring work home, which is mainly documentation for the patients I saw that day at my job as a physician assistant. I set a time limit on actually doing that work so that it does not interfere with my family time, dinner time, and “me time” in the evenings. This way, “working from home” doesn’t become working constantly while at home and missing out on the peace of being home. I also set strict time boundaries while doing assignments and papers for the doctor of medical science program I’m enrolled in.
I buy myself something nice regularly, and it doesn’t always have to be expensive. I LOVE flowers, so I’ll buy flowers for myself when I go grocery shopping weekly. I’ll also buy myself a new plant, a new outfit, or my favorite sinful snack, a Cinnabon with extra icing, once monthly because they make me happy.
Taking ownership of my happiness
I used to wait around for my husband to do this for me, but one day I decided that my happiness was my responsibility, so now I do these things for myself. Anytime my husband decides to treat me to something nice is in addition to the happiness I have created for myself.
What kinds of things do you do for yourself to show yourself some love?
Are you concerned about skin cancer when the weather gets colder?