Self Care – Napping is Okay

Today, March 12th, 2018 is National Napping Day. I am going to be completely honest, I took part in this special day today. I love sleeping so I was more than happy to be apart of the celebrations. My partner and I are quite heavy sleepers, so we have got the perfect bedroom set up. I’m not only a heavy sleeper, but I’m a stomach sleeper too – hence why I spend forever shopping for best mattress for stomach sleepers. Luckily I found the perfect one in the end, and its amazing! All ready for the big event today. It’s the right temperature, we have an amazing mattress, and our bedding is silk. This day had me thinking about something I have to be reminded of quite often by friends, family, and medical professionals. Sometimes it is okay to slow down. Without taking time for self care there is no way to maintain the lifestyle that I have. It just cannot be sustained.

Although the occasional nap is obviously amazing, this is not the only way to practice self care. Self care also will not look the same for everyone.

5 Ways to Increase Your Self Care

  1. Set aside a time that you can do something you enjoy daily – this can be anything that you find relaxing and that brings you peace. Imagine setting aside time everyday to read a book, write in a journal, or take a relaxing bath.
  2. Exercise – spend some time exercising everyday. This does not mean you need to plan to head out to the gym everyday but pick something reasonable to you. Stretch out, do some yoga, take a walk around the block. What level of exercise do you think is reasonable?
  3. Prioritize Sleep – This is something that is essential to continued maintenance of lifestyle. Prioritizing sleep means trying to sleep at night but also taking time for the occasional nap as needed. If you struggle to do this usually, it might be worth looking at getting a hybrid mattress. They are designed with comfort in mind to ensure that people fall asleep much easier. To find some reviews before purchasing one, look at for example.
  4. Be Accepting of Help – It seems kind of counterintuitive that welcoming in help is a part of increasing your self care, however, it is really important that you allow others in to help you. It is also important to balance that help. If you do not want someone at your home because you just don’t feel ready for it then don’t feel pressure to accept that type of help. Think about how someone can help you on your terms.
  5. Unplug Socially As Needed – Sometimes there is a need to step away and socially take a mental break. This can be one of the most challenging things to do and it isn’t something that will be a part of self care for everyone.

So, how about you? Did you take part in #NationalNappingDay? What is one way you can increase your Self Care?

Read more about Erica’s story at

Parents Deserve to Know

Parents Deserve to Know

By Kate Yglesias Houghton, President & CEO
Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance

Each year 70,000 teens and young adults will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States. We make up 8% of all cancer diagnoses. But young Americans impacted by cancer have seen little to no improvement in survival rates over the last four decades even as older adult mortality rates have declined by 25% since the 1990s.

Recently I joined a meeting in Washington, DC with Cervivor and other cervical cancer advocacy organizations. They shared some exciting news: we are on the brink of eliminating all deaths from cervical cancer.

My heart skipped a beat but my head reminded me of the cold, hard facts: cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for young women between 20 and 39.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been identified as the cause of 90% of cervical cancers and 70% of oral cancers found in the throat, neck, and tongue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, “about 39,800 HPV-associated cancers occur in the United States each year: about 23,300 among women, and about 16,500 among men.”

Like polio, we can protect our children and grandchildren from HPV and HPV-related cancers. It is not only a vaccine recommended by countless public and private organizations, but available at no additional cost to the patient or state.

Unfortunately, parents still do not know that this vaccine is available and most effective given to children between the ages of 11 and 14. The American Cancer Society noted in their Cancer Facts & Figures 2018 report, “immunization rate remains low in the US; in 2016, 50% of girls 13-17 years – and only 36% at age 13 – were up to date with the HPV vaccination series.”

Legislation to require the HPV vaccine for school admission has been signed into law in Virginia and District of Columbia. In Rhode Island, the HPV vaccine was added to the list of immunizations needed for school entry and now 70% of children in that state are protected against this incurable, cancer-causing virus.

Parents deserve to know that they can protect their children from an incurable, cancer-causing virus. Adding the HPV vaccine to the list of immunizations needed to attend school is a seamless and already regulated way to get the information in the hands of parents.

Recently  I got to stand with Florida state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez, Florida state Representative Amy Mercado, and Moffitt Cancer Center AYA Program Director Dr. Damon Reed in support of SB 1558 & HB 1343, the Women’s Cancer Prevention Act. This bill would add the HPV vaccine to the Florida list of required immunizations.

It is hard to explain, as a cancer survivor who grew up in South Florida, how it feels to know speaking up for young men and women in my home state could protect them from ever battling a disease that nearly took my life away. Please join me by adding your name to our petition. Let’s end cervical cancer for good.

About the author:

Kate Yglesias Houghton is President and CEO of Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance. Prior to joining Critical Mass, Kate served a senior staff member to a Chief Deputy Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives and leader of the national Democratic Party. In 2011, she served on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, promoting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. While on the campaign trail, Kate was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at just 27 years old. She successfully completed treatment over four months before rejoining the campaign. Kate teamed up with Critical Mass in 2013 and is now focused on ensuring the unique needs of Americans diagnosed with cancer between 15 and 39 years of age are fully recognized by decision makers from hospital administrators to policymakers in Washington, DC.




“HPV and Cancer.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Mar. 2017,
“The HPV Vaccine: Access and Use in the U.S.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 19 Oct. 2017,
Cancer Facts & Figures 2018. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2018.
“Cancer statistics, 2018.” Siegel, Rebecca L., et al. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 4 Jan. 2018,
“HPV Vaccine: State Legislation and Statues.” National Conference on State Legislatures, 10 July 2017.
“Despite benefits, vaccination rate for HPV remains low in Florida.” Girona, Jose Patino. Tampa Bay Times. 25 January 2017.’ Support for School-Entry Requirements for Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: A National Study
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