Like many of you, I suffered a major setback in my health when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2014. The news of any kind of cancer or illness can be devastating, and you can expect serious disruption in your daily life. Rest assured you’ll become depleted physically, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually. If you know this going in, it won’t be such a shock. To endure many tests, biopsies, surgeries, and perhaps chemo or radiation takes quite a lot of extra time—and wellness becomes your priority. Everything that felt super important before will suddenly take a backseat to your health and becoming whole again. After treatments are ended and you’re ready to heal and put all of this behind you, please know this also takes time. So give yourself some slack and enjoy the fact that you are on the mend. Even though you’re not feeling well, remember you’re still here on this earth and things will get better. While you’re waiting, there are five things that can help you improve your life during or after treatments:
5 Ways to Improve Your Life After Serious Illness
Take your time. Don’t rush. Don’t try to do too much each day. Let others help you. Like the tortoise, small tiny steps will get you to the finish line.
Take your recovery time to read books you’ve always wanted to read but didn’t have the time. This time is for you, so enjoy it and get some good reading in. Keep it uplifting, motivating, and encouraging. Watch some funny movies, too. If you need an instant pick me up, check out this 366-day Calendar of Encouragement and Inspiration.
MAKE A BUCKET LIST
Write down dream destinations you’d like to visit after you heal. Find beautiful photos in magazines and cut them out and make a picture board. When you start feel better, take a day trip to ease back into life.
KEEP A JOURNAL
Detail your experiences and feelings during your illness and recovery. As you heal and improve, you have a record to see how far you’ve come. There are many more benefits, which you can read about here: 10 Surprising Benefits to Keeping a Journal.
As you are able, start moving a little each day. I know you don’t feel well, and it feels like you’re trudging up a mountain at first, but bit by bit it will get easier. Here are some ideas. When you first wake up and put your feet on the floor, do the wave. Lift your arms up over your head, and sway them back and forth. Then side to side. Try to bend over as far as you can. As you are brushing your teeth, do 10 leg lefts. Ten on the right side, and then 10 on the left. Take a small walk down to the corner or around the block. If you have one close by, you can visit the YMCA. After cancer, they offer the free Livestrong program for cancer patients and survivors. After you finish, you will feel stronger and ready to tackle this new phase of your life. I wrote a review of my own personal experience at my local YMCA Livestrong Program in Florida. Remember these uplifting words: This too shall pass. And that wonderful day will arrive when you’ll actually be looking in the rear view mirror, and your time spent in illness and recovery will feel like a dream.
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