8 Tips for managing stress and anxiety during cancer treatment

 Mature woman with cancer in pink headscarf smiling sitting on couch at home. Smiling woman suffering from cancer sitting after taking chemotherapy sessions. Portrait of mature lady facing side-effects of hair loss, copy space.

8 Tips for managing stress and anxiety during cancer treatment

Anyone who has ever had cancer and gone through cancer treatment can relate to the mounting pressures of stress they experience.  It is perfectly normal to have stress, anxiety and worry while undergoing cancer treatment.  It would be strange if you didn’t!  But how you deal with stress and anxiety during this time can have either a positive or negative impact on your outcome. 

Some people with cancer will resort to relieving stress by smoking, drinking, overeating, using drugs, or just “shutting down.”  Others may be so overwhelmed by their diagnosis that they rarely leave the house except to go to doctor appointments or treatments for their cancer. 

The important thing to remember is you are not alone and there are people out there who can help you immensely to get through this difficult time.  You can also help yourself by learning positive ways to deal with stress, avoiding problems affecting yourself or others, and to improve your overall quality of life. 

Here are suggestions of 8 ways helping reduce stress and anxiety when facing a cancer diagnosis.  Each day, try out a new suggestion, finding which one(s) help you the most:

1.  Find humor in difficult situations

Nothing eases tension quite like laughter.  Maintaining a sense of humor puts things into perspective and brings you relief from feeling anxious and stressed out.  If it helps, be around people who are naturally good-natured and like a good joke as long as it doesn’t make you feel worse.

2.  Exercise daily

Oncologists wisely encourage exercise for their patients knowing it not only keeps you healthy and strong so you can endure the treatments better, but exercise also produces mood-enhancing endorphins helping chase away worries.  Always discuss with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen making sure it’s the right one for you.

3.  Listen to your favorite music

Music is the universal language of bringing people together and all of us enjoy.  Play your favorite music while driving, at home, and also while getting a cancer treatment such as chemotherapy.  This can greatly relieve tension and stress while escaping the realities of cancer. 

4.  Believe in your healthcare team

One of the first roads to cross after a cancer diagnosis is to have faith and confidence in the people who will be taking care of you during cancer.  From your oncologist, nurses, technicians, and even office staff, trusting and having the belief they are there to get you better can go a long way in reducing anxiety you are feeling.  Medical staff who work with cancer patients are highly skilled and trained professionals who only want the very best outcome for you. 

5. Meditate or pray

Practicing pray or meditation can help you stay calm during rough times.  Each can help you learn to relax and find comfort when you feel a loss of control.  Take time each day to reflect on what is troubling you and then learn to let go of those anxious feelings.

6.  Keep yourself busy between doctor’s visits

One of the worst things one can do is to sit around the house with little to do.  To take you mind off of your medical situation, keeping yourself busy will help you get out of the house and around others.  Each day, have something to do to look forward to.  If you have a job and can still work, do so.  Go shopping, see a movie, spend time with friends or family, go to a museum, take a day trip, or eat out at a favorite restaurant.  Basically have some fun and enjoy life to its fullest.

7.  Help out another cancer patient

There is no better way to take you mind off your own troubles than to befriend another cancer patients who may not have a strong support system.  Spend time with them over coffee or meeting them at a park to talk with one another making a difference in their life.

8.  List your stresses and make goals to overcome them

Write down all the stressors in your life so you know exactly what issues you are facing.  You do not have to tackle them all at once.  Work on one at a time making goals on how to overcome them.  Make goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and have a time frame.  For example, you want to relieve stress be being more physical, aim to attend a yoga class at least once a week for the next month.  Setting goals and making a list of priorities can help you feel more in control easing stress.