20 Jun 7 ways to stay positive during cancer treatment
A cancer diagnosis doesn’t only affect your body, but your mental health, too. Grief, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and fear are all normal emotions to experience during your season of cancer treatment.
At Alabama Cancer Care, we’ve walked through cancer treatment plans and emotions with many patients and their loved ones. We’ve found that a positive perspective may not change your outcome, but will help you along the journey. Our goal during cancer treatment is not to suppress your negative emotions, but to give practical, helpful steps to achieving a more positive outlook on your life.
1. Take Care of Your Body
First and foremost, you do not need to give up on taking care of yourself because of your cancer diagnosis. Self-care activities, such as morning yoga, an evening bath, or cooking your favorite meal, can increase your mood and your physical health.
Additionally, keep eating a healthy diet and exercise. While you may not be able to do all that you once could, it’s essential to keep your body and mind active. Go swimming, walk around your neighborhood, or have a dance party with your friends to encourage activity in approachable ways. Don’t overdo it – It’s equally important to get as much rest and sleep as you need.
2. Visit a Therapist
Scheduling a visit with a local therapist can be an intimidating thing to do, especially if you’ve never gone before. But therapists can help you navigate your relationships, circumstances, and your responses.
As you navigate your feelings about your cancer treatment, a therapist can help give you useful tools to use to evaluate and comprehend your emotions. Ask your cancer treatment team if they have a recommendation of a therapist who specializes in cancer patients. More often than not, you’re grateful that you went.
3. Spend Time with Family and Friends
Reframe this season to make memories with the people in your life that matter most. Having others support you and do everyday things with you reminds you that you aren’t alone in this journey. Go to brunch with your friends, visit your family members, and relax at home with your loved ones. Some people even recommend having a good old-fashioned slumber party!
Whatever activity you choose, whether it’s sitting and talking or doing something that you enjoy, try and spend time with those who encourage you, laugh with you, and listen to you.
4. Write Out a Mantra
Without sounding too woo-woo, a mantra really can help you center around an idea that lifts you and encourages you. Self-affirmation enables you to cope and sets an attainable goal for every day. Mantras often can easily deter your stress, and more naturally turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. Repeat your mantra, write it out on a sticky note, or record yourself speaking.
5. Find a Support Group
As amazing as your friends and family are, your circle of support can never be too extended. Talking with others who are going through cancer treatment or those who had cancer previously can give you empathy, insight, and understanding that you never realized you needed.
Whether through advice, friendship, or an open forum, being in a support group can help you have an avenue to discuss things you may not feel comfortable to talk about anywhere else.
6. Enjoy the Activities You Love
Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you have to punish yourself with boredom. Make a list of your favorite activities, movies, books, museums, restaurants, shops, parks, and other local places, and get your loved ones together to participate in these pursuits alongside you!
Incorporating these activities into your week will help you feel like yourself. Set aside time to truly think about all the things that you love, and when you feel up to it, go and do it.
7. Give Back
While you may not have the energy to do something tremendous, donating, calling or serving organizations in your community will help you remember that the world is bigger than you think. Giving to others in need will not only empower your community, but it will also encourage you.
For those encountering cancer treatment, their entire world becomes inward, focusing on their health and abilities. Focusing on others’ needs and goals can help you feel valuable, helpful, and kind to yourself and your neighbors.
In conclusion, staying positive during your cancer treatment is no small feat. Try not to feel the pressure to do everything, always – you need rest for your body to be healthy. If you have specific questions about your mental health, cancer treatment plan, or resources available for you, ask your trusted doctor and treatment team.