Take time for YOU

Everyone benefits from a little self-care, whether it’s having some rest and relaxation, or finding emotional support. And when you have a long-term condition like CML, it’s especially important to find time to unwind and do things you enjoy, as well as reaching out for support when you need it.

Living with a long-term condition like CML can be stressful for lots of different reasons, and having some ‘me-time’ is a key way you can ease stress and feel more positive.

It can be surprisingly difficult to take a break from daily life. If you’re working and/or have family demands, such as looking after children or elderly relatives, you may have little time for yourself. When you add in hospital appointments, there’s even less time left to do things you want to do. Lots of people with CML feel very tired at times, due to the condition itself and to treatment side effects. When you’re tired, you might not have any energy to do what you enjoy.

When you don’t have much time or energy

Doing small, simple things for yourself can make a difference to your mood and energy levels. Here are some ideas – why not make your own list? That way, you won’t have to put too much effort into thinking about how to use that precious half-hour when you’re busy or don’t have much energy.

  • Watch something that makes you laugh
  • Have a relaxing soak in the bath
  • Catch up with friends on social media or give someone a call
  • Sit down with a cup of tea and watch the birds in the garden
  • Listen to music
  • Do some meditation – simply sitting quietly and bringing your attention to your breathing for a few minutes
  • Take some light exercise – gentle walking or yoga are good options and can help improve your energy levels
  • Share your experience with someone who needs support on the CML online forum – you’ll help them, and giving to others can help boost your sense of self-worth. This is a simple way to give without taking too much out of yourself

When you have more time and energy

You could make the most of these opportunities to be more active or tick off something you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Go for a walk in a local park or nature reserve – research shows walking in nature is a very effective way to ease stress and boost your mood
  • Cook for some friends – you could ask everyone to bring a dish to make it less work for you. Connecting with others is important for helping you feel more secure and supported – and it also means you have people to turn to on difficult days
  • Give yourself a sense of achievement by making or mending something, whether that’s a piece of equipment that needs fixing, or completing a piece of sewing or knitting
  • Learn something new to boost your self-esteem and help you feel more optimistic. You could try a workshop to give yourself a new skill, or something smaller, such as a recipe for a dish you’ve never made before
  • Give counselling a go – you may be able to speak with a psychologist or counsellor as part of your healthcare team. Talking to a trained person may help you better manage the emotional impact of living with CML and regain perspective

Spend time doing things you enjoy

For some people, having a long-term condition like CML may bring some unexpected positives and motivate you to explore new interests or take up a hobby. Take stock of all your activities and evaluate what brings you the most satisfaction and sense of wellbeing – perhaps think about things you have always wanted to do and try them now!