Cancer's New Normal - What You Need to Know

by Greg Pierce

You get the diagnosis, you go through your treatment (chemo and radiation—yay!), and then suddenly the cancer crisis period is over. Now what?

Cancer's New Normal

Some people want to get back to their life BC—Before Cancer. Some people feel inspired to make a drastic change. Regardless of what you want, you can’t deny that this journey has changed you, and instead of searching for and old normal, you get to create a new normal.

But how?

Well, here’s our top 5 ways to help you through that transition.

1. Your feelings are valid

Crying Babies

Adjusting to a new normal is a process, and with each step will come new emotions.

As one cancer blogger says, you have to acknowledge that you do lose some part of yourself when you go through this cancer journey. So don’t be ashamed of going through the five stages of grief; it’s perfectly natural.

Some days you’ll be frustrated that you can’t do something you used to do; other days you’ll be elated to find something new that you enjoy.

There’s no right or wrong, and the feelings you find along the way aren’t right or wrong either.

But when you feel that your feelings are too much for you to handle alone, there are plenty of resources you can use:

* Talk to a family member or close friend just to get things off your chest
* Talk to you doctor about what else might be causing your mood
* Talk to a counselor or therapist. Sometimes a trained, objective professional can be the best outlet

There are also a number of free and cheap resources online such as:
Support groups
Call centers

2. Lower your stress

Yoga What Next Blog

Easier said than done, right?

But chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body, so it’s important to find ways to help you destress. Of course, this will be different for everyone. Some popular options are:

* Yoga
* Meditation (including guided meditation or mindfulness training)
* Tai Chi
* Expressive writing/art
* Adult coloring books
* Massage

Think of it as a time to try something new!

3. Continue to take care of your body

Healthy Diet What Next Blog

Creating a new normal is a great time to set up new healthy habits. Regular exercise can help improve negative feelings, and will also keep your body in good working order. Of course, make sure whatever you choose, your doctor thinks it’s safe for you to do.

And if you want a two for one deal (because who doesn’t like a deal), pick an exercise that will help you lower stress!

But taking care of your body also means making sure you’re eating a healthy diet. Not sure how to start?

* Talk to a nutritionist
* Look into meal prep sites like Blue Apron, Plated, or PrepDish
* Stock your kitchen with easy, nutritious snacks for the days you don’t have the appetite or the energy to make anything

4. Lean on your family and friends

Family Talking

Your support team is there to do just that—support you! So, it’s important that you let them. All they want to do is help out, but sometimes they might not be sure how or what they think is helping isn’t actually helping you. It’s up to you to speak up and let them know. It’ll help you all become closer, and set the groundwork for a good new normal.

What can they do to help? Well, just about anything!

* Ask then to take on a chore that is too much for you
* Or, conversely, ask them to let you go about your normal routine unless you ask for help
* Ask them to invite you to things, even if you have to turn them down a few times
* Join in your new activities, like cooking together or taking an exercise class

5. Attitude is everything

Positive Attitude

At the end of the day, trying to keep an optimistic and positive attitude will go a long way in easing your transition into your new normal. While it’s important to acknowledge your feelings, it’s equally important to not let negative feelings consume you.

Of course, telling you to be positive isn’t as helpful as showing you how to be positive.
Keep a gratitude journal to remind you of the positive moments in your life.

* Make sure you’re spending time with positive people
* Check the way you talk to yourself
* A good rule of thumb is to not say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your friend

Just because you’re adapting to a new normal, and it’s going to take some time to get used to, doesn’t mean it’s a bad change. There are positive moments in this new normal. It’s up to you to treasure them.

More articles at WhatNext on finding your New Normal 

The Triumphs of 120 Cancer Survivors - New Beginnings

Recognizing the Small Victories in Beating Cancer

You're In Remission, What Next?

Don't Be Afraid of Your New Normal

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