Five Tips for Living Your Best Life After Cancer
Once you start to settle back into life after cancer, you may find things are different. You may have new priorities and new perspectives on life. Your body is different from long-term side effects and body image changes. With all that has happened to your mind, body and spirit, how do you discover and embrace what comes next?
The Tate Cancer Center at UM BWMC offers five tips for making your post-cancer life your best life yet.
1. Lean on your social supports.
Make sure to keep up a variety of support persons in case you could use a hand or simply need to talk. Support persons include professionals, like mental health providers, social workers and doctors. Family, friends and your religious community can offer a helping hand. Joining a cancer support group gives you a resource to connect with others who understand what you have been through and the challenges you are currently facing.
2. Keep your body tuned up.
Get physical activity on a regular basis. Eat a balanced diet. Continue follow-up appointments with your doctors. Make and keep all of your normal annual screenings as recommended by your doctor, such as colonoscopies, mammograms, pap smears and others. Work with your doctors to identify long-term side effects and when to follow up with your oncology team.
3. Nourish your mind and spirit.
Learn ways to balance your mind and reduce stress. Try active meditation like yoga, qi gong and tai chi. Learn to quiet your mind with restful meditation. Acupuncture and massage have been proven to help with relaxation. Spiritual communities like churches and synagogues offer ways to feed your spirit.
4. Give yourself time to adjust.
Take baby steps to add back in activities such as work, school, social outings and other activities. Recognize when you need a break or should cut back on being busy. It’s ok to take longer to do things as well. And it is ok to say no if you don’t want to do something.
5. Learn a new way of doing things.
Use this opportunity to develop a new outlook on life and a new perspective on your responsibilities to find out what is really important to you. You may need to shift your priorities and establish boundaries. It is your time - spend it in a way that nourishes your mind, body and spirit.