Whether you are self-quarantining or practicing social distancing, we all are adjusting to a new normal amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. As a person diagnosed with a blood cancer, you might be experiencing feelings of isolation, uncertainty and anxiety. As a caregiver, you might be feeling overwhelmed with navigating your loved one’s care while looking after your own needs. And as a family member, you might be feeling unsure of how you can help. This is understandable, and you are not alone.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) is here to help. We encourage Canadians affected by blood cancer and their loved ones to contact our community engagement managers to learn about resource and new programs to support you during COVID -19.
While this is a stressful time, there are a few things you can do to tend to your physical and emotional needs.
*A quick note on terminology: you might be hearing two terms in the news, SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 refers to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which is the virus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Learn more here.
10 Self-Care Tips
1) Practice good hygiene. Canadians living with a blood cancer are not at greater risk of catching SARS-CoV-2, but because of your diagnosis you might be at a greater risk of getting sicker if you do get the virus. You should be extra vigilant about precautions outlined by Health Canada such as hand washing, avoiding crowds, and cleaning your home routinely.
2) Eat well. Good nutrition can help support a healthy immune system. Canada’s food guide encourages that we eat a variety of healthy foods each day, consume plenty of fruit and vegetables, and make water our drink of choice. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day to stay energized and to ensure your body is getting enough calories, proteins, and nutrients.
3) Get enough sleep. Make sure you’re getting good, quality sleep. Health Canada recommends that adults get seven hours or more of sleep every night. If you have difficulty sleeping, talk to your healthcare team. To improve your sleep quality, try going to bed at the same time every night. If you need to rest, keep naps to 30 minutes or less.
4) Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help support your immune system and promote good cardiovascular health. Depending on your age, where you are in your treatment, and your present state of fitness, you might need to modify exercise routines, but spending some time moving and being active is critical for physical and mental health. YouTube offers free exercise routines that you can do at home, and many fitness studios are offering live streams of their classes, too.
5) Stay in touch. Write letters to your family, start a Google hangout with your co-workers, or FaceTime with your friends. LLSC offers a telephone based peer support program, which connects Canadians newly diagnosed with a blood cancer and their families with trained volunteers who have been touched firsthand by a blood cancer.
6) Do calming activities that you enjoy. Cozy up with a good book, start an arts-and-crafts project, or listen to music. If you’re a fan of podcasts, tune in to LLSC podcasts for people affected by a blood cancer. Try streaming services, board games, or online games for more entertainment.
7) Express yourself. Whether putting pen to paper, blogging, capturing videos or scrapbooking, journaling can help you cope with your feelings. Find the format that works best for you, from stream of consciousness writing to line-a-day or bullet journaling.
8) Get organized. If you’re working from home, create a dedicated space for work and break up tasks into bite-sized pieces.
9) Ask for help and accept help when it is offered. Ask someone to pick up groceries or medications for you.
10) Take time to talk with your family. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your family understands. Share the healthy ways you are coping with stress with your family.
Please know that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada remains open for business. Although our offices are closed, our staff are working from home. You should continue to contact our Community Engagement Managers at 1-833-222-4884 or by email.
Community Engagement Manager
Prairies & Northwest Territories
|(403) 263-5300 ext 5163|
|Quebec||(514) 875-1000 ext 1009|
|Atlantic Canada||(902) 422-5999 ext 7580|