7 Ways to Pass the Time During Chemo Treatments

Thinking about spending a full afternoon receiving a chemo infusion can leave you feeling anxious and uncertain. Thoughts may race through your mind regarding the treatment itself but also, if you’re an on-the-go person, how the heck will you pass the time sitting for so long?

Luckily, there are several activities you can do to calm your mind and keep you engaged for the duration of your infusion. Here are a few fun things you can do to pass the time during your chemo or radiation treatment.

1. Read a Book

Pass Time During Chemo Treatment by Reading a Book Pass Time During Chemo Treatment by Reading a Book

There’s almost nothing better than being drawn into a really captivating book. Books can provide an escape from our everyday reality or give us a look into the lives of others that have faced similar situations. If you’re not an avid reader, start by researching topics of interest to you. Whether it’s romance, mysteries, true crime, humor, or the history of the bagel, whatever keeps your interest piqued and helps pass the time is A-OK in our book! (See what we did there??)

2. Get Crafty

Doing embroidery during cancer treatments Doing embroidery during cancer treatments

Those that are more crafty-inclined know the perils of having to put down a project to focus on less interesting responsibilities, like going to work or doing laundry. If your chemo infusion is being administered via port as opposed to an IV line run to your hand, working on your latest knitting project or scrapbook is a wonderful way to pass the time. 

This is also a great time to consider picking up a new crafting skill. As with learning any new craft, remember: YouTube is filled with tutorials of all sorts and will easily become your new best friend!

Just a few fun (portable) craft ideas are:

  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Sketching
  • Cross Stitch or Embroidery
  • Scrapbooking
  • Weaving

3. Catch Up on Netflix or Listen to Podcasts

Woman with cancer watching movie on phone Woman with cancer watching movie on phone

If you’ve been wanting to get caught up on the newest seasons of your favorite shows or podcasts, your afternoon chemo treatment excellent time to binge. All you need is a phone, laptop, or tablet! Dedicate the afternoon to watching the latest superhero flicks or dive into a new reality TV show. If you’re not sure what to watch, ask friends, family, or even your nurses if they have any suggestions for you.

If you’ve never delved into the wide world of podcasts, we definitely recommend giving them a try. Think old-school radio shows combined with just about any topic you can think of, from true crime to comedy to meditation and everything in between!

4. Play Games

Play card games during chemo infusion to pass time Play card games during chemo infusion to pass time

Phones and tablets have definitely opened the door to a world of games ready to be downloaded on the fly. Keep your mind occupied with puzzles, like sudoku or crosswords. Or enjoy an in-depth mystery or action game. Some games even let you connect with friends online. Alternatively, consider purchasing a puzzle book for a more "concrete" game experience. 

If you have a friend or family member keeping you company during your chemo infusion, you may consider bringing a deck of cards or a two player game to pass the time. After all, nothing says fun like trying to repeatedly crush your companion in Go Fish!

5. Keep a Journal or Blog

Keep a journal during cancer treatments Keep a journal during cancer treatments

Many people find journaling to be both rejuvenating and meditative. This can be espeically true when your mind is running wild with feelings about your cancer treatment. Sometimes just creating to-do lists, free-writing about your current thoughts, or composing a detailed conversation between you and your pet can be therapeutic. Journals also make a wonderful gift request idea for your family and friends.

You may even consider making the leap from paper to pixels by starting an online blog. Your blog can be a private safe haven for your personal thoughts or a sounding board to help connect you with others who are currently going through or have gone through cancer treatments.

6. Touch Base with Family or Friends

Woman with cancer talking to family on a tablet during treatments Woman with cancer talking to family on a tablet during treatments

Technology (or more specifically, cell phones) have given us the ability to continuously keep in contact with everyone important in our lives via text, email, social media, or just good old-fashioned phone calls. When new responsibilities or hardships make our lives more hectic, ongoing digital conversations usually end up taking a backseat. During chemotherapy, your only job is to sit and try to stay comfortable, making this a perfect time to catch up with any family members or friends. Chances are they’ll be thrilled to hear from you!

7. Get Some Rest

Get some rest during your chemo infusion Get some rest during your chemo infusion

As chemotherapy is normally given in either a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital, you will most likely find the temperature kept on the chilly side. The cooler temps combined with the medication may leave you feeling drowsy and ready to snooze. This is perfectly fine! Bring a small blanket, sweater, pillow, and a pair of plush slipper socks to keep you cozy and warm while you catch up on some shut eye. Make sure to wear a comfy chemo cap!

Finding activities to distract you during chemotherapy is a marvelous way to pass the time and help relieve any lingering anxieties. We hope the suggestions above prove helpful, whether you’re undergoing a chemo infusion or know someone about to begin chemotherapy. What’s your favorite way to pass the time during your treatments? Tell us in the comments section below!

If your cancer treatments caused your hair to fall out, consider shopping for some comfy chemo caps here.