Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre

Soul Snacks


Soul Snacks is an innovative collaboration between patients and healthcare professionals.  The “Snacks” are bite-sized pieces of information for patients undergoing treatment for cancer, those supporting them, or anyone interested in well-being. Soul Snacks emerged from a Psycho-Oncology intervention where a psychologist and a former patient recognised the lack of practical, visually exciting, and evidence-based information for patients.  The information provided in Soul Snacks is based on current research and evidence, as well as patient experience…and a little bit of fun!

The Snacks are available as a printed A5 deck of cards and as an online resource – meaning they can live in your bag, on your fridge, by your bed, or in your phone or tablet – whatever is most convenient!  If you want to access Soul Snacks, packs can be purchased at the link below, with all proceeds going to the Beaumont Hospital Foundation. You can also click the drop downs below or follow us on social media @Soulsnackscards for more information and wellbeing content.


  • Hungry for Information about Soul Snacks?

    The project aims to share information, ideas, and guidance to those who have completed or are undergoing cancer treatment in a fun, creative and accessible way. The abundance of information available to cancer patients can be overwhelming and often contradictory, with reliable and trustworthy resources difficult to identify. Our aim is to provide clear, bite-size information that patients can engage with as they please, and in their own time.


  • The ingredients that make up Soul Snacks.

    Soul Snacks comprises an illustrated “A-Z” of research-informed self-care guidance, alongside “Wild Cards” which encourage patients to step outside of their comfort zone when it comes to their own self-care.

    Both the A-Z Snacks and the Wild Cards aim to bring a sense of fun and enjoyment to information that is available to cancer patients.

    The “Snacks” include resources and references to allow patients to dig a little deeper and learn more.  There are recommendations for books, movies, podcasts, and other media, which we hope will be helpful.

  • The Cooks



    Vanessa Fay is a graphic artist who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019 and who wanted to use her experience to help others who are also going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. She knows first-hand how hard and messy a cancer diagnosis can be, and how easy it is to feel lost and afraid, even after getting the all clear. Vanessa came up with the idea of Soul Snacks and is the designer of the pack with help from her design collective friends in

    Dr Vicky Cooper Lunt is a Principal Clinical Psychologist in Psycho-Oncology, working in the Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre. Vicky helped to develop the concept of Soul Snacks with Vanessa, and contributed to the content for the Snacks. Vicky has learned so much from patients as part of her work in the field of Psycho-Oncology, and she is passionate about sharing this valuable information with other people who are also facing a cancer diagnosis.

    Dr Jennifer Fennell is Senior Psychologist in Psycho-Oncology, based in the St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Centre in Beaumont Hospital. Jennifer contributed to the content for Soul Snacks. It was important to Jennifer that the Snacks captured a holistic approach to health and well-being, through evidence-based research as well as the wisdom of patient experience.

    All of the team have a passion for well-being and self-care, and for providing others with digestible, accessible information that can help during this difficult time.

  • Dig into the Soul Snacks Buffet.



    Complementary Therapies



    Friends + Family









    One day at a time




    Self Care









  • Go Wild - Try something new from the menu


  • Curious - Hungry for More?

    References and Resources

    These snacks are easily digestible information, but if you are hungry for more, here are some resources for you. Take your time and be self-compassionate – changing behaviours and forming new habits can be hard. So don’t overfill your self care plate at the Soul Snacks buffet…take it a bite at a time and savour the learning.

    General ideas:

    If you are interested in learning more, but you are tired or fatigued – try an audiobook or a podcast instead of a book or article. TED talks are a great option and cover a multitude of topics. Be curious, but check the sources of  information – Anyone can put Anything on the internet ! Start small and “stack your new habits” (see Atomic Habits below)


    Irish Cancer Society:

    Cancer Research UK:

    Macmillan Cancer Support:


    Atomic Habits: An easy and proven way to  build good habits and break bad ones, James Clear


    Have a notebook with you for every appointment, write down your diagnosis, medications and consultants names. That way you always have the information you might need.

    • Gratitude: Self Care Journal app.
    • 3 Good Things Daily Gratitude app.
    Fun to do:
    • Affirmation Jar (affirmations on paper, draw one a day or store for when you need a boost)
    • Little Penny Thoughts Diary/Planner: Click Here 

    The Little Book of Comfort: Lucy Lane

    The research:

    Taper, J.M., et al., (2016). Optimism and Spontaneous Self Affirmation are Associated with Lower Likelihood of Cognitive Impairment and Greater Positive Affect among Cancer Survivors: Annals of Behavioural medicine, 50 (2), 198-209

    • Beaumont Hospital – Mindfulness and Relaxation Centre: Click Here
    • YouTube – 3 Minute Breathing Space: Click Here
    Fun to do:

    Use your fitness tracker relaxation function to track slow, deep breathing. Beat the waiting room stress – bring your earphones to access online resources, and breathe.


    Nestor, J. (2020). Breath: The new science of a lost art. Penguin.

    The research:

    Hopper, S. I., et al., (2019). Effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing for reducing physiological and psychological stress in adults: a quantitative systematic review. JBI database of systematic reviews and implementation reports, 17(9), 1855–1876.

    Fun to do:

    Book a complementary therapy session at your local cancer support centre

    The research:

    Gentile, D., et al., (2018). Cancer pain relief after healing touch and massage. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 24(9-10), 968-973.

    Lyman, G. H., et al., (2018). Integrative Therapies During and After Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline. Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 36(25),2647–2655.

    Zhang, Y., et al, (2018). Effects of acupuncture on cancer-related fatigue: a meta-analysis. Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 26(2), 415–425.


    Organise my house: Click Here

    Fun to do:
    • Watch SPARKING JOY with Marie Kondo on Netflix for inspiration.
    • Recycle in your home and workplace – keeps down the clutter and great for the environment

    Kondo, M. (2015). The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Thorndike Press.

    • PERCS Personalised Exercise Rehabilitation in Cancer Survivorship: Click Here
    • Cuisle Cancer Support Video resources: Click Here
    • Prehab4Cancer YouTube Channel: Click Here
    • ExWell – a medically supervised exercise programme during and after cancer, online or in person: Click Here
    Fun to do:

    Exercise to music – find a song here in Time Magazine’s top 50 exercise songs: Click Here

    The research:

    Ligibel, J. A., et al., (2022). Exercise, diet, and weight management during cancer treatment: ASCO guideline. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 40(22), 2491-2507.

    • Alone – a charity linking older people to new company: Click Here
    • Super Agers – RTE player
    • Older than Ireland – RTE Player
    Fun to do:
    • Watch a funny movie with a family theme: Meet the Parents (2000) – A man meets his in-laws for the first time;
    • Parenthood (1998) – A classic about the joys of family life
    The research:
    • Cook Maher, A., et al., (2017). Psychological well-being in elderly adults with extraordinary episodic memory. PloS one, 12(10).
    • Usta, Y. Y. (2012). Importance of social support in cancer patients. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 13, 3569-72.
    • Gratitude: Self-Care Journal app
    • Presently app
    Fun to do:

    Write down some things you are grateful for on a post-it and stick on your fridge, laptop, or mirror as a reminder.

    The research:

    Sztachańska, J., Krejtz, I., & Nezlek, J. B. (2019). Using a Gratitude Intervention to Improve the Lives of Women With Breast Cancer: A Daily Diary Study. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1365.


    Flowly: Humming for Health: Click Here

    Fun to do:

    Try humming along to your favorite song. Do you know that Google has added a feature that allows you to find the name of a song by simply humming the melody of the song. See how to do this here: Click Here

    The research:
    • Nivethitha, L., et al. (2017). Heart Rate Variability Changes During and after the Practice of Bhramari Pranayama. International journal of yoga, 10(2), 99–102.
    • Weitzberg, E., & Lundberg, J. O. (2002). Humming greatly increases nasal nitric oxide. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 166(2), 144–145.
    • TEDTalk – Food for Thought: How Your Belly Controls Your Brain and Moods: Click Here
    • BBC – Intuition: When is it Right to Trust Your Gut Instincts?: Click Here
    • Healthline – Gut Feelings Are Real, but Should You Really ‘Trust Your Gut’?: Click Here
    Fun to try:

    When you have a decision to make, compile a list of pros and cons – add up the columns and then ask yourself, “what does my gut say” – this allows you to interrogate the decision, but not to ignore your instincts

    The research:

    Forssten SD, et al., (2022). One Giant Leap from Mouse to Man: The Microbiota–Gut–Brain Axis in Mood Disorders and Translational Challenges Moving towards Human Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2022; 14(3):568.

    Fun to try:

    Treat yourself to a beautiful diary and a great pen – good stationery is a good start: Click Here 

    Set up a new private email address for yourself. You can then email yourself with your experiences, thoughts, feelings – that way you can go back and read them at a later date.

    The research:
    • Smyth J, et al., (2018). Online Positive Affect Journalling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial.
    • JMIR Mental Health. Tan TT, et al. (2012). Mindful gratitude journalling: psychological distress, quality of life and suffering in advanced cancer: a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

    The movie Pay It Forward (2000) is an inspiring tale. – Dr Kristin Neff: Click Here

    explains the concept

    Fun to do:

    Leave a thoughtful gift on the neighbour’s doorstep – giving kindness is receiving kindness. Press some of the flowers you receive from people – you can enjoy them for longer or use in a creative project

    The research:

    Zhu, L., et al. (2019). The predictive role of self-compassion in cancer patients’ symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue: A longitudinal study. Psychooncology, 28(9), 1918-1925.


    Mayo Clinic – Stress Relief from Laughter: Click Here


    Mind Full: Un-wreck Your Head, De-stress Your Life by Dermot Whelan: Author, Comedian and Broadcaster brings a lighter look at mindfulness practices.

    Fun to do:

    Try Laughter yoga: look for a group near you: Click Here

    Smile at a stranger…it lifts both of your moods and takes little effort

    The research:

    Yim J. (2016). Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine, 239(3), 243–249.

    • Live Awake podcast – Sarah Blondin’s guided meditations can be found on Insight Timer app
    • Niall Breslin, musician, author, broadcaster and athlete, has a website full of resources and links to his podcasts for adults and children: Click Here
    • Beaumont Hospital – Mindfulness and Relaxation Centre: Click Here
    • Free mindfulness: Click Here
    • Balance app
    • Headspace app
    • Healthy Minds Programme app
    • Or simply google mindfulness and find a guided meditation to suit you

    Full Catastrophe Living: How to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn

    Fun to try:
    The research:
    • Chayadi, E., Baes, N., & Kiropoulos, L. (2022). The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and cancer-related fatigue in oncology patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 17(7), e0269519.
    • Marinovic, D. A., & Hunter, R. L. (2022). Examining the interrelationships between mindfulness-based interventions, depression, inflammation, and cancer survival. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 72(5), 490-502.

    American Psychological Society – Green is good for you Click Here

    YouTube – Down to Earth Documentary – The Science of Grounding


    Li, Q. (2018). Forest bathing: How trees can help you find health and happiness. Penguin.

    Fun to do:
    • Place a bird feeder or bird bath in your garden where you can see it from bed or the couch when you are resting
    • Take off your shoes and socks and feel the grass or sand under your feet
    The research:
    • Jo, H., Song, C., & Miyazaki, Y. (2019). Physiological benefits of viewing nature: A systematic review of indoor experiments. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(23), 4739
    • Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224(4647), 420-421.
    • Mackesy, C. (2019). The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse. Random House Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lesson.
    • Mitch Albom Hoff, B. (1983). The Tao of Pooh. New York, N.Y., Penguin Books. Pooh Bear reveals the meaning of life.
    • Hoff, B. (1983). The The of Piglet. New York,N.Y., Penguin Books. Piglet adds his wisdom about life.
    Fun to do:

    Release your inner child – join a group of kids playing a game, get creative, get moving and don’t just keep board games for Christmas – remind yourself of the things you loved to do when you were younger and start there.


    Brown, S. L. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul. Penguin.

    The research:
    • Magnuson, C. D., & Barnett, L. A. (2013). The playful advantage: How playfulness enhances coping with stress. Leisure Sciences, 35(2), 129-144.
    • Proyer, R. T. (2013). The well-being of playful adults: Adult playfulness, subjective wellbeing, physical well-being, and the pursuit of enjoyable activities. The European Journal of Humour Research, 1(1), 84–98.

    The Hearing Charity for tinnitus support: Click Here 

    Fun to do:

    See what it is like to sit in silence – turn off the music, telly and distractions

    • “Weightless” by Marconi Union
    • “Sleep” by Max Richter
    The research:

    Phillips, O. R., et al., (2023). The long-term impacts of hearing loss, tinnitus and poor balance on the quality of life of people living with and beyond cancer after platinumbased chemotherapy: a literature review. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 1-19.


    Use your phone as a diary – share your calendar with your family members so you can coordinate your busy time tables and appointments.

    Fun to do:

    Schedule play time, relaxation and rest into your routine.

    The research:
    • Arlinghaus, K. R., & Johnston, C. A. (2018). The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 13(2), 142–144.
    • Schmidt, N. B., & Lerew, D. R. (2002). Prospective evaluation of perceived control, predictability, and anxiety sensitivity in the pathogenesis of panic. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 24(4), 207-214.

    Where is my mind podcast. Niall Breslin hosts guests to discuss matters of the mind, body, emotion and spirituality

    Fun to do:
    • Try some new plant based recipes with the Happy Pear Twins: Click Here
    • Check out Deliciously Ella: Click Here
    • For the fatigued days there are always healthy, ready cooked alternatives for the microwave. Why not have your groceries delivered? It saves one job for the family and ensures the house is stocked
    • Owning It, Your bullsh*t free guide to managing anxiety. (2017). Caroline Foran. Hachette Ireland.
    • The Confidence Kit, Your bullsh*t free guide to owning your fear. (2019). Caroline Foran. Hachette Ireland.

    The Well – The Healing Power of Touch: Click Here

    The research:
    • Gentile, D., Boselli, D., O’Neill, G., Yaguda, S., Bailey-Dorton, C., & Eaton, T. A. (2018).
    • Cancer pain relief after healing touch and massage. The journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 24(9-10), 968-973.

    Irish Cancer Society:

    American Cancer Society:

    • Beaumont Hospital – Mindfulness and Relaxation Centre: Click Here
    • St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network Relaxation Services: Click Here
    The research:
    • Charalambous, A., Giannakopoulou, M., Bozas, E., Marcou, Y., Kitsios, P., & Paikousis, (2016). Guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation as a cluster of symptoms management intervention in patients receiving chemotherapy: a randomized control trial. PloS one, 11(6), e0156911.
    • Ranganathan, V. K., Siemionow, V., Liu, J. Z., Sahgal, V., & Yue, G. H. (2004). From mental power to muscle power—gaining strength by using the mind. Neuropsychologia, 42(7), 944-956.
    Fun to do:

    Treat yourself to a new water bottle – water may seem boring but your bottle doesn’t have to be! There are so many different types of water bottles out there, in different colours and patterns, which make drinking water a bit more fun

    The research:

    Adan A. (2012). Cognitive performance and dehydration. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 31(2), 71–78.

    Andreyev, J., Ross, P., Donnellan, C., Lennan, E., Leonard, P., Waters, C., … & Ferry, D. (2014). Guidance on the management of diarrhoea during cancer chemotherapy. The Lancet Oncology, 15(10), e447-e460.

    Manz, F., & Wentz, A. (2005). The importance of good hydration for the prevention of chronic diseases. Nutrition reviews, 63(6 Pt 2), S2–S5.


    Irish Cancer Society:

    The research:

    Lorig, K. R., Sobel, D. S., Stewart, A. L., Brown Jr, B. W., Bandura, A., Ritter, P., … & Holman, H.R. (1999). Evidence suggesting that a chronic disease self-management program can improve health status while reducing hospitalization: a randomized trial. Medical care, 5-14.

    Fun to do:

    Yoganotes – Learn to Draw Yoga Stick Figures: Click Here

    • YouTube – Start Your Day With Meditative Somatic Movement In Bed: Click Here
    • Cleveland Clinic – What is Yoga Nidra?: Click Here
    • PIES Fitness Yoga Studio – What are some examples of yoga therapy?: Click Here
    • Yoga Journal – 7 Ways to Do Restorative Yoga When You’re Traveling Without Props: Click Here
    Zzzzzz SLEEP

    Walker, M. (2017). Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. Simon and Schuster.

    • TEDTalk – Why Do We Sleep: Click Here 
    • Beaumont Hospital – Mindfulness and Relaxation Centre: Click Here

    Li, Q. (2018). Forest bathing: How trees can help you find health and happiness. Penguin.

    Fun to do:
    • Crayola – Free Colouring Pages: Click Here
    • Challenge yourself to write a haiku in ten minutes – start your timer and see what happens!
    • Do some research and see if there is a local dance class you can join – it will get you moving and you might also make friends!
    • Judi Dench: My Passion For Trees Documentary: Click Here
    • Beaumont Health – Health Benefits of Colouring: Click Here 
    • Circus Kingdom – What is Clown Care?: Click Here
    • Clowns Without Borders: Click Here
    • Everyday Health – 9 reasons dancing is good for your health: Click Here
    • FoxHill Residences – 6 Brain and Health Benefits of Painting: Click Here
    • Grammarly – How to Write a Haiku: Click Here
    • True Activist – Science Proves Hugging Trees is Good for Health: Click Here
    • The Wilder Route – The Incredible Benefits of Tree Hugging: Click Here
    The research:
    • Karkou, V., Aithal, S., Zubala, A., & Meekums, (2019). Effectiveness of Dance Movement Therapy in the Treatment of Adults With Depression: A Systematic Review With Meta- Analyses. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 936.
    • Lopes-Júnior, L. C., Bomfim, E., Olson, K., Neves, E. T., Silveira, D. S. C., Nunes, M. D. R., & Lima, R. A. G. (2020). Effectiveness of hospital clowns for symptom management in paediatrics: Systematic review of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials. The BMJ, 371, m4290.
  • Thank You's!


    The Soul Snacks team want to thank the Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre for their support and funding for this project. The project would also not have been possible without the help of the following people, and we are so grateful for their support and contributions:

    Beaumont Hospital and Cancer Centre Directorate

    Claire Noonan – Cancer Operations and OECI Accreditation Lead

    Caitriona Higgins – CNM3 Cancer Directorate and Cancer Patient Partnership Lead

    Colm Kavanagh – Printing Beaumont Hospital

    Psychology/Psycho-Oncology departments

    Beaumont Hospital Foundation

    Dave Mullholland – Finished art

    Noel Hannigan – Mc Gowans Print

    Out Out Studio

    Sal Studio

    Nigel Tynan


    Aaron O’ Keeffe, Roisin Keogh, Karen Price, Sinead McConamy Cooper, Edel Mulhall, Tanya Murphy

    And of course a huge, warm, heartfelt thank you to all our friends and families who offered support and encouragement throughout this project.