'I’m More of a Peloton Guy'
- Today host Craig Melvin lost his brother to colon cancer in 2020. He was 41-years-old and his brother was 43. Since then, Melvin has used his platform to encourage others to take an active role in maintaining their physical and mental health.
- In a recent interview, Melvin described his ideal mental health day and shared some of the strategies that help him keep his head on straight.
- Self-care can mean many different things for different people. For people with cancer, taking time for activities that enrich their minds and bodies can help them take control and step out of the identity of being a “cancer patient.”
Melvin thinks of himself as “fairly private,” but he is grateful for the way his platform allows him to promote causes that are important to him. Since the end of his brother’s colon cancer battle, Melvin has opened up about his personal life and used his spotlight to help others live happier and healthier lives. “Whether it’s colon cancer, substance abuse disorder, addiction, or parenting…it’s all been cathartic for me,” he said in a new interview with Parade.Read More
Melvin shared more info on the ways that he works to maintain his own physical and mental health. Melvin says that, in part, his efforts to prioritize his mental health were spurred by the pandemic.
“I think for a lot of folks, myself included, the pandemic revealed that perhaps we weren’t as healthy mentally [as we thought we were],” says Melvin. “Fairly early on in the pandemic, I realized I needed some help and had to figure out a few ways to reset.”
One of the strategies Melvin has embraced for maintaining his mental health is mindfulness–a practice that many cancer doctors have recommended for the readers of SurvivorNet. “Some people call it meditation, but I prefer to call it mindfulness,” he said. “I use an app that I started to lean on a bit more, I started to journal more often and spent more time talking to my therapist.”
Follow this guided meditation technique, which can help cancer patients with their overall health.
For Melvin, an ideal start to the day includes exercise, reading, meditation, healthy food, and time with family. “Fitness and mindfulness are the two main things that have helped me,” he says. His fitness routine changes depending on the season, but it typically involves running or working out in his home gym. “I’m more of a Peloton guy,” he says. “In the winter, especially.”
He also recognizes the importance of making time for the people in your life. “I’d spend some time with the kids and watch 30 minutes of their favorite episode of a show,” he said. One of Melvin’s favorite ways to decompress is cooking: “I find cooking cathartic. I don’t get to do it as often as I used to, but I take great pleasure in it.”
Craig Melvin’s Self-Care
Melvin’s description of his ideal mental health day echoes some of the thoughts Dr. Marianna Strongin shared on self-care in a recent interview with SurvivorNet. Dr. Strongin is a licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience working with people with cancer. For people fighting cancer, practicing mindfulness and self-care can be a way to reclaim control of your health at a time when you might feel that some of your agency has been taken away from you.
“Self-care is a way to treat yourself, to give back to yourself, in a way that feels very different than being a patient,” Dr. Strongin said. She recommends thinking of self-care in the context of the things in life that bring you the most joy. It doesn’t necessarily mean pampering yourself. It’s more important to find opportunities to be playful and joyous—to embrace the child within yourself.
Many survivors find strength in incorporating mindfulness into their cancer recovery journeys.
This perspective expands the ways that you can practice self-care. Though meditation and activities meant to soothe the body can be great ways of practicing self-care for some people, others might prefer other outlets. For Melvin, self-care can involve exercise, light reading, cooking, or spending time with his kids. These activities all help him connect with a spirit of joy that might not naturally appear in our daily lives if we don’t set aside time for it. There are many other pastimes you might take interest in and ways you could think about making room for mindfulness and self-care in your life.
According to Dr. Strongin, “Self-care allows (people with cancer) to take on a different role where they are proactively giving back to their body, giving back to their mind—whatever that might be.”