Managing Treatments

5 Things to Do During Chemo

Are you looking for things to do during chemo that pass the time in a healthy way? Try meditating by using an app.

If you’re in cancer treatment, chemotherapy appointments are a regular staple of your schedule. Chemo can be a drag for a variety of reasons, but boredom during the course of your treatment can get you down quickly. Fortunately, there are various things to do during chemo that go beyond reading or binge-watching. Here’s hoping these ideas allow you to pass the time and get through your chemo treatments successfully!

1. Virtual Reality

Advances in immersive gaming can give you — and your brain — just the break you need during trying and monotonous chemo treatments. Portable virtual reality headsets are now readily available online and at most nearby stores. (See what items PC Magazine suggests.) Pair these headsets with your phone to feel like you’re diving into any place but your chemo chair.

2. Work With Your Hands

If you’ve ever wanted to try a new hobby, chemo treatments give you the perfect place to try it out. Consider picking up knitting or crocheting, as you can make notable progress (a nice contrast to the unknowns of cancer treatment) on projects you make for yourself or others. Are you feeling like making a few extra bucks? Start your own Etsy shop to sell your creations online.

3. Journal About It

It can be difficult to keep a positive mindset during the ups and downs of cancer treatment. Fortunately, you can use your chemo time as a designated space to journal. Grab a blank notebook and a new pen to tuck into your chemo bag. Use the time to journal about your feelings — the good and the bad — and be sure to end each session with a list of 10 things you’re thankful for. Even on the hardest days, noting the things to be grateful can be uplifting.

4. Meditate

Being present and practicing mindfulness have been proven to decrease stress levels in most adults and children. However, it can be nearly impossible to find time to slow down and practice meditation. Use your chemo time as just the opportunity to meditate. Download an app, like Headspace, to help you get started. You can find sessions that focus on health, anxiety or other emotions you may be experiencing.

5. Get Positive

Finally, consider using positive affirmations or a mantra during your chemo treatment time. You can write — and rewrite — your mantra in a notebook, or you can repeat your mantra over and over again, using a mala bead necklace to keep track of your practice. Similar to meditation, repeating your mantra can help you to relax and remember your inner strength; writing, copying or decorating your written mantra can also let you practice mindfulness and give you a creative outlet. Try a mantra adult coloring book or a mandala book to get you started, or use cards to find an affirmation that works for you today.

The time you spend in chemo doesn’t have to be grueling. With the above activities at your disposal, you can heal your body while exploring new worlds, developing a skill and fostering your mental health. Try any number of these ideas or get inspired with your own idea, to take back your life and take advantage of chemo.

For more information about what to expect during your chemotherapy treatment, visit the UVA Cancer Center.

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Haley Burress
Haley Burress