Self-Care for Cancer Survivors

Author Laren Watson's headshot

In this episode of Conversations with Smart People, I talked with Laren Watson, author of WTF?! I Have Cancer?* and founder of The Permanent Remission Project, about how cancer survivors can use self-care in their healing journey.

After being blindsided by a double cancer diagnosis (triple negative breast cancer and mantle cell lymphoma), Laren leaned into her inner strength and sense of optimism to push forward toward remission. Having been a health coach for many years, Laren admits that she felt somewhat betrayed by her healthy lifestyle. But as she peeled back the layers of her habits, she identified a few areas that needed her attention.

Watch my interview with Laren here.

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In the midst of life’s heavy moments, it can be challenging to maintain a spirit of optimism. Here are some of Laren’s personal self-care strategies:

Laren’s Self-Care Strategy

Laren’s approach to cancer survivorship is to make herself “as inhospitable” to cancer as possible, using both Eastern and Western medicine strategies. Today, she has extended her self-care practice beyond eating well and exercising to better support her spiritual and emotional health. A few of her favorite self-care activities include journaling, getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, meditating, using high quality ingredients to prepare healthy meals, and managing stress levels.

Since our mindset plays a huge role in how we choose to take care of ourselves, it’s critical to focus on what we can do to support ourselves. Coming to terms with not always knowing what’s going to happen next is a start. As Laren explains, life often throws us curve balls that we don’t expect, but it’s our job to manage what is within our control.

Another aspect of self-care involves managing our fears. This can be particularly debilitating for cancer survivors, who must remain vigilant in their fight. For Laren, healthy distractions have been an effective strategy for managing fears. One of those distractions is The Permanent Remission Project.

The Permanent Remission Project

This Permanent Remission Project came about after Laren learned that the type of cancer she has isn’t curable. Instead, her treatment goal is to be in permanent remission. Armed with that knowledge, she set out to redesign her lifestyle, and eventually to write a book about her healing journey.

Laren offers private coaching as well as small group coaching programs for cancer survivors who are looking for ongoing support once they complete treatment. Self-care is an ongoing process that involves our day-to-day choices, and surrounding ourselves with a supportive community of positive people can make that process feel less daunting.

To learn more about how to work with Laren, or to grab a copy of her book, visit