Asking for and accepting help
Some men with advanced prostate cancer feel as though they cannot ask for help. They might not like to impose on others, or they may feel as though they have failed in some way if they cannot manage things by themselves.
It is important to remember:
- Write down everything you do each day.
- How long does it take you to do each job?
- Who could help you?
Having a clear idea about what needs to be done, and how long it will take, may help you say yes more often to other people’s offers of assistance.
Taking time out
Managing stress and taking time out to do something that you enjoy is important. It allows you to recharge your batteries, to keep a sense of who you are as a person and to feel better about yourself. All these things will also benefit those around you because you will feel calmer, more in control, and less stressed.
Caring for yourself should be holistic: look after yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, and express your needs and concerns.
Taking time out to relax does not have to be complicated, time consuming or expensive. Try to give yourself at least 10 minutes time-out each day. Some things you may like to try are:
- listening to your favourite music
- reading a book or magazine
- doing some gardening or going for a walk
- sitting in a favourite place with a cup of tea/coffee
- taking up a hobby
Take a few minutes and think about what you would do if you had 10 minutes a day to yourself, or 30 minutes, or an hour. You may think of things you have never done before but always wanted to do. Build ways into your life to allow you to do these things.
Looking after your physical health
Keeping a check on your own health and wellbeing is vital. It can help you feel you are still in control. Have regular check-ups with your doctor. Ask your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for help with sleeping or dietary problems or if you are feeling really overwhelmed, anxious, stressed or depressed.
Signs you may not be getting enough sleep include:
- difficulty waking in the morning
- lack of concentration
- moodiness, irritability, depression, anxiety
- drowsiness during the day.
Tips to improve your quality of sleep:
- try to keep regular times for going to bed and waking up
- start bedtime habits (e.g. write in your diary, listen to music)
- relax before going to bed (e.g. meditate)
- limit caffeine and alcohol intake
- do some physical exercise
- do not go to bed hungry.
There may be times when you are feeling too fatigued to even think about exercising. You may have never really enjoyed any physical exercise. However, exercise has a wide range of health benefits. It will reduce your risk of developing other cancers, help you maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, and reduce the chance of other diseases such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Exercise can also help with depression.
Regular exercise can:
- help you maintain independence and wellbeing
- improve physical function
- help you sleep better
- help with fatigue
- make you feel more energised
- reduce muscle and mental tension
- improve quality of life.
The most effective forms of exercise are:
- endurance activities such as fast walking, jogging, swimming
- weight-bearing exercises such as lifting weights, stair climbing.
Talk to a physiotherapist, exercise physiologist or another member of your healthcare team about a suitable exercise program for you.
Your treatment may affect your appetite. However, it is important to maintain your strength. What you eat can impact on your sense of health, vitality and wellbeing. A nutritionist or other members of your healthcare team can offer you personalised nutritional advice on your diet that can reduce some of the effects from cancer treatments.
In general, the Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest:
- eat plenty of vegetables, legumes/beans and fruit
- eat wholegrain (cereal) food such as bread, pasta, rice , noodles
- eat lean meat, fish and poultry as well as other protein sources such as tofu – include milk, yoghurt and cheese (reduced or low fat)
- drink plenty of water
- limit saturated fat such as biscuits, cakes, pies and processed meats
- limit added salt
- limit added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks
- limit alcohol