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by SusieQ

Cancer Support Specialist's View
08 January 2018 at 13:13

New Year's Resolutions and stress.

Hi everyone,

We're back to some sense of routine here online, and the New Year is here. 2018 - a new start for some, but for many on here it may also be full of unknowns and worries.

We often talk about taking control back, after cancer is diagnosed or has returned - as it can help reduce the sense of helplessness that comes along when something univited and troublesome enters our lives.

With the New Year, most of us try and do this to a degree - the whole business of 'New Year Resolutions' fills many popular press pages, and it's a time to reflect, and make changes. A resolution is defined as 'a firm decision to do or not to do something' and needs commitment.

If you or a loved one has cancer there are a few resolutions that might help...

a)  Let go of the past - thinking about how life was before cancer struck, or what you could have done differently, or previous emotional upsets that cause sleepless nights. The new 'normal' (however much in disarray it feels) is about what is happening now, how you might deal with it, and moving forward. Much easier said than done, and sometimes we need chance to talk these things through before letting go - so seeking support, and learning strategies to cope with the 'here and now' can help.

bTake control of the controllable - if cancer is impacting on your life, it can help if you take charge. Ask questions, seek information, ask for help if you're feeling low in mood, check if how you're feeling is normal - your GP, hospital team and specialist nurse are part of your team - keep in touch (you're not badgering them). Find out more about to how to eat well, relax, help your body and mind, and support yourself - (visiting a Maggie's Centre, for example, could be a start)...

c) Recognise and learn how to manage stress

Cancer is stressful. Balancing life when all around you seems in chaos,  being dictated by hospital appointments, treatments, feeling unwell - make normal routine suddenly go out of the window. The edge of uncertainty can spill over into day to day lives, and the stress levels build up.  Your new year could start with acknowledging stress, and thinking how you might manage it. As a starter, there's a handy section in Maggie's Cancerlinks on 'managing stress' which is worth a look.

Maggie's Centres run courses on Managing Stress., along with a myriad of other courses, workshops and support groups to help anyone affected by cancer. Here at Maggie's Online Centre, we offer an online version - 'Living with less Stress' course which you can access online (find out more by clicking here)

d) - Find things to look forward to. - that may sound a contradiction in terms, but setting achievable goals, and spoiling yourself, can lift the spirits. It might be a meal out, a good film, a short break, a phone call or visit to the sea...whatever gives you a 'feel good factor'. If you're someone who is caring for someone with cancer, look after yourself too - this can be an exhausting an emotional time.

You may have made other resolutions - I'd love to hear them (my husband says his new year resolution was not to make any, but that's perhaps not ideal...)

If you're hovering with indecision here - and would like a word, do message Robyn or myself. We can answer questions, offer a listening ear, and and be somewhere for you to talk things through. You may also like to drop in to one our Maggie's Centres, and see for yourselves the support on offer...

Warm wishes


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