Tips for Managing Stress & Staying Positive

Do you know someone who, no matter what, always seems happy and calm? Is positivity just a character trait you’re either born with or aren’t? That isn’t the case; most people can develop a positive mindset.

It can be tough to remain positive when you have cancer or have a loved one facing a cancer diagnosis. It may seem impossible to put the stress aside and embrace gratitude and cheerfulness, especially during the holidays or special anniversaries. But you are far from alone. Other people are going through the same thing, and there are ways to manage it. Read more for tips for staying positive during stressful times.

Start Your Day With Expressing What You’re Grateful For

When you’re going through cancer treatment, you may feel as if that’s the one thing happening in your life and everything else falls at the wayside. Treatments are long and take a toll on the body. But it can be helpful to do little things for yourself at the start of the day that promote positivity. Here a few ideas:

  • Yoga, Guided Imagery & Reiki: Though not for everyone, yoga, Guided Imagery and Reiki help many people. Yoga can help you manage stress and alleviate anxiety. By starting your day with something that clears your head, you will be on the right track. If you can’t make it to a yoga or meditation class, you should download an app that allows you to tap into mindfulness whenever, wherever.
  • Journaling: You may already have a journal where you divulge all your thoughts and feelings. If so, that’s great! But you can take it a step further and start each day writing a few  things that you feel particularly grateful for.  Practicing gratitude has been shown to be associated with elevated mental health. Think about the love and support of friends and all the family members who have helped you. Also, you can tap into other things that are happening besides your treatment — Are you fulfilled with new creative endeavors? Have you learned anything new? Journal about it!
  • Take A Break From Social Media: While social media can be a good tool for keeping in touch with friends, it isn’t always the best thing for your mental health. Seeing infinite photos of people at sunny beaches can be frustrating. If you need something to wake you up, try a fun, escapist podcast or audiobook. There are plenty to choose from!

Don’t Give Into Negative Self-Talk

What is negative self-talk? Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve likely experienced it. It’s that running voice in your head that analyzes things happening to you or echoes some persistent concerns you may be having. Especially during this time of stress, the self-talk could get really intense and weigh down on your psyche. To stay positive, it’s not necessarily about shutting it out. Instead, you should learn how to turn the negative self-talk into something positive.  Each time you see yourself going back into negative thinking habits, take a moment to reframe that dialogue into something constructive. For example, if you are thinking about how stressed you are about the general idea of the future, think about something great you’re looking forward to within the next few days.

Socialize With Friends

When you’re socially isolated, your stress levels rise. Having cancer can be a very lonely experience. Since you may be dealing with autoimmune deficiency during a global pandemic, you may also be isolating yourself for your health. That’s understandable — your health should be a number one priority. But there are ways to stay safe while also sustaining your friendships. Here are a few ideas:

  • Have A Virtual Party: There’s no need to have an occasion! Set up a Zoom party to catch up with friends.
  • Start A Group Chat: Stay in touch with your friends with a group chat. If you want, you can set boundaries that you don’t want to solely discuss your condition. You can set a theme for the group so it stays light and fun — silly memes, cat photos, or recipes.
  • Go On Social Distanced Walks: You may feel cooked up and want to go out and enjoy the sunshine. With precautions like social distancing, mask-wearing, and ensuring that everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19, you can socialize with people outdoors. Go on a walk around the neighborhood or go visit your favorite park.
  • Stream A Movie With Friends: You don’t have to be in the same room to have movie night. With streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you and your friends can watch the same content from your respective homes. While watching the movie together, set up a group chat to send comments!

Eat Well

There’s a correlation between eating well and mental health. When you’re going through a difficult time, you prioritize eating right and ensure that you are having meals that are nutritious and well-balanced. Making your meals more healthy can also be a fun hobby. You can research new recipes, seek out interesting ingredients, and challenge yourself!

Talk To A Licensed Therapist

Though there are plenty of things you can do on your own to stay positive, you may benefit from speaking to a licensed therapist.

When you have cancer, you may feel overwhelmed and stressed. It’s important to remember that there are ways for you to take charge of your mental health and stay positive. With the tips mentioned above, you can find a way forward that works for you.