Establishing a morning routine when you have metastatic breast cancer (MBC) can help you start your day off right. The ideal routine should take care of both your physical and mental health needs.
Your day-to-day life may look different than another person living with MBC, so your morning routine may vary. You may also be undergoing various treatments and living with the condition in a variety of ways:
- You may still work full- or part-time if you have MBC, so your morning routine may be focused on getting out the door so you can get to your job or volunteer work.
- You may be undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or another type of treatment that occurs outside of the home and have days where you need to go to a hospital or treatment center.
- You may find that some days you may have more energy than others.
Below are some of the basics you may want to cover in your morning routine, no matter your specific schedule or needs.
Your morning routine can include simple ways to remind yourself to take medications, vitamins, and supplements.
Store your medications in a spot that you frequent during your morning routine, such as on top of your dresser, on a bathroom shelf, or on the kitchen counter.
Set up a timer on your phone or download an application that helps track and remind you to take your medications. This can be a handy tool if you tend to forget if you’ve taken your meds.
When these items are in an obvious place, it’ll be easier to remember to take them when you get dressed, brush your teeth, or fill up your water bottle every morning.
Caring for your skin when you have MBC may be different than before your diagnosis and treatment.
Chemotherapy and radiation can change the moisture balance of your skin. You can give your skin the loving care that it needs with the following methods:
- Consider moisturizing with thick topical emollients containing aloe vera.
- Add a product with sun protection factor (SPF) to block harmful sun rays. Your skin may be more prone to sun damage because of MBC treatments.
- Try using gentle, scent-free products when cleaning or moisturizing your skin. You may find that personal care products with fragrance irritate your skin.
- Avoid using products with alcohol when cleaning your face or skin. These can dry out your skin.
- Try to wash your face only once or twice a day to avoid drying it out.
- If your skin is really irritated, ask your doctor about prescription topical products. Your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid cream or another product for your skin.
Eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet is beneficial for anyone, but especially if you have MBC. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast can help you stick with your nutrition plan for the remaining hours of your day.
Your diet should include a variety of foods rich in:
Avoid eating processed foods and foods high in sugar or salt.
Breakfast choices to give you more energy for the day ahead may include:
- vegetables and fruits
- proteins like eggs, nuts, or lean meats
- low-fat dairy products
- whole grains
Consider having a few favorite breakfast meals in rotation every week.
Don’t forget to fill up on water, either. It’s important to stay hydrated.
Consider purchasing a reusable water bottle and fill it up first thing in the morning. Take it with you where you go and refill it as needed.
This will help you drink more water and avoid filling up on less healthy beverages like those containing caffeine or sugar.
Your morning routine is a good time to give yourself personal time to reflect and prepare for your day ahead.
Building in time to journal, meditate, read, or practice a quiet hobby may also help you cope with some of the strains of living with MBC.
Journaling can take many forms. Write down your thoughts in a notebook, or start a gratitude journal, blog, or calendar.
You may find that meditation apps on your smartphone help guide you into a time to relax and reflect first thing in the morning.
Reading a good novel or an inspirational text may help you feel refreshed. You may also have favorite websites or newsletters to scroll through in the morning that help you focus your energy in a positive way.
Quiet hobbies may also be a welcome addition to your morning routine.
You may want to embrace your artistic side and start each day by drawing or painting. Or, take up knitting and create a few rows of a scarf before you start your day.
Daily exercise can be beneficial when you live with MBC. Working it into your morning routine may make it easier to accomplish that goal.
Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise if you can, along with a few sessions of strength training.
Moderate-level exercise includes:
Exercises like yoga may also help you relax and focus.
Start slow and ask your doctor if they recommend any specific exercises that can help.
These are several ways you can create a morning routine with MBC. Coming up with a routine to care for yourself can help you start your day in a good space.
Keep in mind that on some days you may not feel as up for certain activities as others. Give yourself permission to adjust your routine as your treatments and symptoms change.