Cancer is a life-changing illness that takes a lot of strength to get through. It affects the person with the diagnosis, as well as everyone around them. Getting through the illness and the treatment takes a heap of mental and physical power. It is a major source of physical and emotional distress, both during and after the treatment. During the treatment, you would have to go through the stress of the side effects, the impact you had on the people around you, and whether the treatment would be successful. It can be difficult going back to your normal life and routine after such an intense and scary journey, but it isn’t impossible. Today, we will be exploring ways to cultivate your mental and physical health after surviving cancer.
Common Feelings and Concerns
It is very common for cancer survivors to struggle with a number of challenges after they have been given the all-clear. Your body would have experienced physical changes from the treatment itself, such as gaining or losing weight or scars and damage from surgery. You may lose your ability to remember things. This common issue is known as ‘chemobrain.’ Some people may have distanced themselves, so it can be difficult getting your social life back.
Other stresses include financial worry, going back to work, the cancer reappearing, and feeling alone. You should try to focus on yourself during this time, even though it can be difficult as you can see your family struggle with the situation. To give you some peace of mind, you can explore the possibilities of life insurance for cancer patients and survivors. This means that if the cancer does return, you know that your family will be financially stable.
How to Help Yourself Mentally
Maintaining our mental health is extremely important and the awareness that has developed and surrounds this vital part of us has and continues to increase. Before you can fix it, you need to recognize the symptoms, then you can take the required steps to improve it. These include discussing your feelings and concerns with the people closest to you, so you can come to a solution to help this all together. Once you are aware of your problems, you can choose to work on one or two things at a time to help you get back to normal. At your next follow up appointment, you should speak to your cancer care team or general practitioner about how you’ve been feeling. You should also take a look into joining a cancer support group, many of which exist.
Looking After Your Physical Health
Many of the things that you can do to help you physically can actually benefit your mental health too. For example, medical professionals have stated that cancer survivors should exercise more after their treatment has ended. Exercise has many benefits for us physically, such as improving our heart health, losing excess fat and supporting the healthy function of our circulatory system. However, exercise will also improve our mental health, because it releases chemicals from the brain that make us happier and improve our mood. Other ways you can look after your physical health after surviving cancer include eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight and resting well. Doing what you can to reduce stress, limiting your use of alcohol and quitting smoking should definitely be at the top of your list.
Once you have survived cancer, it is normal to experience stress and anxiety for other reasons, as well as the physical impacts of the illness and the treatment. However, you are not alone during this difficult time. You need to make sure you don’t go through your aftercare by yourself. Keep the people closest to you even closer and reach out to support groups, so you can interact with other people who have gone through the same thing.