As a cancer survivor, it’s important to take the time to focus on your mental health. The journey through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery can be a physically and emotionally draining experience. It’s natural to have moments of anxiety, depression, and stress, but it’s important to address these feelings and work on maintaining good mental health.
Over the course of two lymphoma diagnoses, my mental health evolution throughout my journey is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It’s taken a lot of work and acceptance to get here but the journey has been well worth it.
In this post, I discuss 6 ways to approach laying down a new foundation of habits and discipline.
Six key ways to help you get back on track
- Talk to someone: Whether it’s a therapist, support group, or trusted friend or family member, talking about your feelings can be a huge help.
- Practice self-care: Make time for activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies you enjoy.
- Set achievable goals: Break big goals into smaller, more manageable steps and celebrate each accomplishment.
- Find ways to manage stress: Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Seek out support: In addition to talking to loved ones, consider joining a support group with others who have gone through similar experiences.
- Take a break: It’s okay to take a break from cancer-related thoughts and activities. Give yourself permission to relax and recharge.
Why these points are effective even though they may sound repetitive
These points may sound repetitive because they are tried and true methods for improving mental health. Talking to someone about your feelings allows you to process and understand them better, and can provide a sense of connection and support.
Self-care activities help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Setting achievable goals gives a sense of control and accomplishment, which can boost self-esteem and motivation.
Stress management techniques, such as relaxation techniques, can help to reduce anxiety and improve overall functioning. Seeking out support from loved ones and joining a support group can provide a sense of community and connection.
Taking breaks from cancer-related thoughts and activities allows for much-needed rest and relaxation, which can improve overall mental health. These strategies have been shown to be effective in improving mental health and well-being.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to do the work. This is one of those things where no one can do the work for you. The more you put into it, the more you’ll get out.
Breaking Down The Six Key Ways
Talking to someone
Talking to a therapist, support group, or trusted friend or family member can be incredibly beneficial for cancer survivors. It can be helpful to share your feelings and experiences with someone who understands what you are going through. Talking about your feelings can help you process them and make sense of them. This can also provide a sense of connection and support, which is important for mental well-being.
Talking to someone is an incredibly important part of cancer survivorship, both for the mental and physical health of survivors. Allowing yourself the space to connect with someone, and share your story and experiences, can be incredibly cleansing in helping to process and make sense of any experiences that you have gone through. This can also provide a sense of connection and support, which is important for mental well-being.
Engaging in activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit can be a powerful tool for maintaining good mental health. This can include exercise, meditation, or hobbies you enjoy. Self-care activities can help to reduce stress, improve mood and provide a sense of accomplishment. It’s important to make time for yourself and do things that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Talking to someone and practicing self-care are both important for cancer survivors’ mental health. It can be helpful to talk about your feelings with someone who understands your situation. Doing activities that make you feel good, like exercising, meditating, or doing hobbies you enjoy, can help reduce stress and make you feel better. Even if it’s hard sometimes, try to make time for yourself and do things that bring you joy.
Setting achievable goals:
I understand that I sound like a pile of broken records, but hear me out.
Setting goals can help to give a sense of control and accomplishment. It can be helpful to break big goals into smaller, more manageable steps and celebrate each accomplishment. This can boost self-esteem and motivation. Setting goals can also give you a sense of purpose and direction, which can be important for mental well-being.
When setting goals, it’s important to keep in mind the sense of accomplishment you will feel when they are achieved. Achieving goals can bring a great sense of satisfaction, as well as boost your self-esteem and motivation. When we achieve something that we have set our minds to, it can bring us tremendous joy and pride. Re-evaluating progress and setting new goals can also provide a sense of direction and purpose.
Finding ways to manage stress
Stress can be a common experience for cancer survivors. It’s important to find ways to manage stress in order to maintain good mental health. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation can be effective in reducing anxiety and improving overall functioning.
Stress management is a crucial part of cancer survivorship. There are a variety of different techniques that can be used to reduce stress levels and improve mental health. Meditation and mindfulness activities can help survivors to focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about future events or dwelling on past experiences. Exercise, such as yoga, tai chi, or walking, can also be helpful in managing stress.
Finally, engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, such as hobbies or creative pursuits, can help to improve mood and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Seeking out support
In addition to talking to loved ones, joining a support group with others who have gone through similar experiences can provide a sense of community and connection. It can be helpful to talk to others who understand what you’re going through and can offer support and encouragement.
It is not uncommon for cancer survivors to feel guilt or shame. These emotions can be difficult to manage, but there are steps that can be taken in order to better understand and cope with them. One way is to practice self-reflection, by taking time to reflect on your feelings and the thoughts behind them. This can help you gain insight into why you are feeling the way you do and what can be done to manage these feelings. Additionally, seeking out therapy or support from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or counselor can also be beneficial in managing negative emotions.
Speaking to a professional about this can help give context to emotions and provide tips for managing them in a healthy way.
Taking a break
It’s important to give yourself permission to take a break from cancer-related thoughts and activities. This can include taking time to relax, recharge and engage in activities that bring you joy. Taking a break can help improve overall mental health, by allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life and regain a sense of balance.
For example, walking is an excellent way to take a break and give yourself some much-needed time for self-care. It allows you to get outside, move your body, and clear your mind. The physical activity of walking can help reduce stress levels, improve mood and increase energy. Taking regular walks can also boost productivity when it’s time to focus on work or other tasks. This is especially important since time has become such a precious resource.
These strategies can be beneficial for a cancer survivor’s mental health and overall well-being. Cancer survivors should strive to find ways to manage stress, set goals, seek out support, and take breaks in order to maintain good mental health. Taking care of yourself is important for managing the physical and emotional aspects of cancer survivorship.
Cancer survivors have unique needs and challenges that require special consideration when it comes to mental health. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in your journey and that there is help available for managing cancer-related stress, anxiety, and other emotions. With the right support and strategies, it is possible to maintain good mental health and have a fulfilling life after cancer. It takes work, but is so worth it!!! -T