Restore Spiritual Well-Being Coping With Recovery
The word “coping” refers to the thoughts and actions we use to deal with stress and challenges. No one would dispute the fact that going through breast cancer treatment can be a challenge, and that for some women, so is life after treatment.
Breast cancer might change your life in ways that last well after treatment ends.
In addition to dealing with any possible lingering effects of your treatment, you probably have been thinking about how your life might be changed by your breast cancer experience. You may have asked yourself: “What can I do to help prevent a breast cancer recurrence?” “Will my hormone therapy cause me any problems?” “Will my sex life be affected my treatment?”
So, how do you cope with life after treatment and get your life back to “normal?”
You can start by acknowledging that your recovery and survivorship are more like a marathon than a sprint. You might have lingering effects from your treatment such as fatigue, chemo brain or neuropathy that might interfere with your ability to resume your familiar activities.
There are many coping strategies available and simple steps you can take to make your transition into survivorship a smooth one. They involve focusing on your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and well-being.
With respect to the physical aspects of coping with life after breast cancer treatment, exercising, eating a healthy and balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink are key success factors.
You can improve your emotional health and well-being by getting help with any emotional distress such as anxiety, sadness and depression you might be experiencing. Here are some things that you can do to better cope with your emotions:
- Communicate with family and friends
- Maintain intimacy (if you have a partner)
- Visit with a counselor or spiritual director
- Find a good therapist, join a support group or find a support partner
- Express your needs and ask for help
- Report your symptoms to your healthcare team
- Keep a log of medical visits, save test results and keep receipts
For your mental health and well-being, there are mental stimulation exercises you can do -- if you experience chemo brain -- to enhance your cognitive thinking skills. It is also important to ensure that you have work-life balance to maintain a good quality of life.
Spiritually, practice whatever works for you to honor your belief in and connection to a Higher Power. This will give you the faith and inspiration you need to overcome obstacles in your journey to recover, restore and reenergize your life after breast cancer treatment.
In essence, coping with recovery requires you to be good to yourself and give yourself permission to:
The following resources provide additional information to help you better cope with your recovery:
- Just say no without allowing yourself to feel guilty
- Take naps if you’re able to when you’re tired
- Take a day or evening off and do something enjoyable
- Ask for help with chores like laundry, housekeeping and driving
- Avoid being around negative people and situations
- Celebrate small victories in your recovery and overcoming treatment
Coping after Cancer
Overcoming worry after breast cancer treatment
Coping with Cancer Magazine
Stressors and Coping Strategies Among Female Cancer Survivors After Treatments
For more information on coping with recovery, go to Resources. You can share your knowledge and experience with other survivors at Survivor Tips or start a discussion in our Partner Forum.