- Express gratitude for the simple things: a warm shower, buttered toast and the smell of rain. Practicing gratitude helps focus awareness on what is going well.
- Recognize anxiety triggers. An upcoming scan or doctor’s appointment, even walking into a medical office may bring up feelings of dread. Sometimes just recognizing anxiety can help dissipate some of the nervous energy.
- If you don’t quite have your pre-cancer stamina, find a new way to experience what you love. Do you enjoy gardening? Try floral arranging. If golfing brings you pleasure, don’t throw in towel if you can’t complete 18 holes; set up a putting green in the living room.
- Stay engaged in life activities. Don’t delay living life to the fullest and planning for more. Make vacation plans or enroll in a community art class.
- Get physical. If there is a universal remedy for any type of illness it’s “keep moving.” The body is made for movement; without it, muscles shrink and weakness sets in. Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to physical therapy to jump start your physical improvement program.
- Connect with others who are thriving in spite of a cancer diagnosis or other chronic illness. What are their coping strategies? Healthy support groups can be a place of refuge where your feelings can be validated by other people sharing a similar life experience.
- Have tough conversations. Talking about the future can be hard, especially if you are dealing with a life threatening illness. Sometimes just getting the conversation going is the problem. Here are some resources that may help:
Advances in symptom management and emotional/social support are anticipated, as more and more people continue to have the opportunity to live well with chronic, life threatening diseases like cancer.