Resilience and cancer is something that is not often discussed with patients. After a cancer diagnosis and treatment, many people expect that they will be able to "bounce back" to the way they lived their lives pre-diagnosis. We put lots of pressure on ourselves to quickly return to the way our lives were before our diagnosis. And there is social pressure in this regard too! However, in reality, it takes a lot of work to build resilience as a cancer patient and move forward with our lives. So today I’m sharing 3 tips for finding resilience as a cancer patient. These are things that have helped me in my journey, and I hope will help others as well!
Resilience and Cancer - 3 Tips for Finding Resilience as a Cancer Patient
#1 - Find a Strong Social Support System
Finding a strong social support system while going through cancer treatment, as well as into survivorship, is extremely important. When I was first diagnosed, I found that I had no room or mental bandwidth for negative and unsupportive relationships any longer. As humans, we are social beings who thrive in community, and so having good friends and family to talk to is very important to our mental health. Especially when we are having a difficult time physically or emotionally, this is a key ingredient to building personal resilience.
#2 - Give Yourself Grace
As I mentioned, we often put pressure on ourselves to jump back into our “normal” lives and activities following a cancer diagnosis. When in reality, we may not have the energy or physical capability to do all of the things we used to do. Giving grace and having patience with ourselves is helpful in finding peace and resilience to live our lives optimally as we move forward as cancer survivors. I recently shared my own story of showing myself compassion after my diagnosis and hope others find it to be helpful!
#3 - Take Care of Yourself Physically & Emotionally
My third tip for finding resilience as a cancer patient is to really take care of yourself - both physically as well as emotionally. This includes maintaining forms of exercise that are comfortable for you, eating foods that fuel and nourish your body, and taking care of your mental health. Personally, I found things like massage, acupuncture, and journaling to be very beneficial in helping me move forward with my life. I also found it helpful to work with a therapist to talk through feelings I was struggling with.
There is certainly no guaranteed quick fix for “bouncing back” after a cancer diagnosis. And unfortunately, the medical community often doesn’t provide a lot of resources on this topic either. But by taking care of our mental and physical health, keeping a strong social network, and giving ourselves grace when we are struggling, we can find resilience and begin to move forward with our lives after treatment.