4 Ways to Be Resilient After Cancer

16 Mar

Yesterday, we talked about resilience and how important it is to spring back after cancer.  It’s vital to our future health and well-being, but being resilient – recovering from treatment, getting on with your life, living with joy – is much easier digested as a philosophical idea than as an action we must take.

Source: ThinkStockPhotos.com

Sure, we might want to be more resilient, but how exactly do we do that?  A recent article in Success magazine talks about bouncing back from adversity.  I think cancer patients can learn from the author’s suggestions and adapt them to fit our own circumstances.  Here are a few of their recommendations followed by my interpretation of how this could apply to those of us with cancer:

  1. Find a Team.  Gather the troops.  Rally support around yourself.  If you need help pulling yourself out of “cancer mode,” tell your family, your friends, your support team that you need their help.  There are people in your life who know how to motivate you to do things.  If you are afraid to start living again after treatment, let them know.  They can gently and lovingly pull you back into the life you had before.  You didn’t go through cancer treatment alone, so you shouldn’t expect to rebound from cancer on your own.  You need a support team for this part of your recovery, as well.
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  2. Count Your Blessings.  Make a list and write them down.  Start with the little things if you have to and work your way up.  You are surrounded by blessings, you just have to recognize them for what they are.  The food you ate for lunch, the way you made it all the way through the day without taking a nap, sunshine coming through your kitchen window, the fact that you MADE IT THROUGH TREATMENT – these are all blessings.  Take stock of them and you will feel less and less like a cancer victim and more and more like a person with a beautiful life left to live.
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  3. Lend a Hand.  Be a volunteer.  Support and encourage someone just starting out on their cancer journey.  You may not realize it but your recent experiences have given you an incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom to share.  It is virtually impossible to feel down in the dumps and sorry for yourself when you are helping another person.  Focus on someone else.  The less you think about yourself and what you’ve been going through, the easier it will be to ease back into life.  As you begin to help others, you will feel good about yourself and will be less overwhelmed by knowing you had/have cancer.
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  4. Accept and Adapt.  Accept that you have/had cancer.  You can’t change that so there’s no point in dwelling on it for too long.  If you are finished with treatment, it’s time to start thinking about your future and how you want it to look.  Adapt to the changes cancer brought into your life, but don’t let them hold you back.  Adapting does not mean giving in to the circumstances – it means changing things so that you can continue to thrive in spite of your circumstances.

Take baby steps – no one says you have to bounce back in a day.  Just slooooooowwwwww down and take it easy.  :)  Everyone has their own timetable for recovering from any type of adversity – be it cancer, a job loss, or the death of a loved one.  Pat yourself on the back when you make progress and be forgiving of yourself when you don’t.  It’s a journey – a new chapter in this book that you didn’t want to write.  Being resilient might not be easy, but you can do it!  I know you can.  :)

Have a blessed Friday and a wonderful weekend!
♥ Rachel

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