Tips for finding your 'new normal' after cancer treatment
The end of cancer treatment is often a time to rejoice. Most likely you're relieved to be finished with the demands of treatment. You may be ready to put the experience behind you and have life return to the way it used to be. Or you may be ready to have a fresh start at something new.
Yet at the same time, you may feel sad and worried. It can take time to recover. Many people are uncertain about how to move forward, feeling anxious about the future. It's very common to think about whether the cancer will come back and what happens now that you're done with treatment. Often this time is called adjusting to a "new normal."
One step you can take is to use your energy to focus on wellness and manage any stress or anxiety you may feel. Here are some things you can do to take care of your mind and body as you find your new normal after treatment.
- Find ways to help yourself relax. Relaxation exercises have been proven to help people with stress and may help you relax when you feel worried. Meditation and yoga also help reduce stress.
- Talk to others. Sharing your feelings with friends and family may help you feel better and realize that you're not alone. You can also join a support group to talk to others who are having the same fears.
- Exercise. Moderate exercise (examples: walking, biking, swimming) can help reduce anxiety and depression. It also may improve your mood and boost your self-esteem.
- Eat a healthy diet. Talk to a dietician or nutritionist about the foods you should eat to stay healthy and maintain your strength.
- Write your feelings down. It may help you to express your feelings by writing in a journal or a notebook. Many people find that getting their thoughts on paper helps them to let go of worries and fears.
- Seek comfort from spirituality. Many survivors have found their faith, religion, or sense of spirituality to be a source of strength.
- Give back. Some people like to channel their energy by volunteering and helping others. Being productive in this way gives them a sense of meaning and lets them turn their attention on others.
- Take part in clubs, classes, or social gatherings. Getting out of the house may help you focus on other things besides cancer and the worries it brings.
*Article adapted from the National Cancer Institute.