Stress and Breast Cancer Survivors
By: Janvi Kapadia, 2018 Summer Communications/Marketing Intern
Every breast cancer survivor has their own experience when fighting their way through this disease. When battling breast cancer, emotional well-being is just as important as one’s physical health. Going through cancer is hard — and trying to keep positive mentally can be challenging.
In this blog, we have some tips and ideas to help patients going through treatment, survivors or those living with metastatic breast cancer find stress-relieving activities that can help take care of one’s emotional well-being. Read on!
Getting Social Support
When trying to cope with the mental stress that comes with breast cancer, it is important to get social support from those who are close to you and those we refer to as co-survivors. Co-survivors can be anyone from your spouse, family members, friends, co-workers or anyone else you are comfortable talking to.
Along with getting help from co-survivors and other loved ones, many survivors find it helpful to get support through support groups. Support groups are beneficial because of the fact that you are getting help from people who know exactly what you are experiencing. There are different types of support groups that accommodate each person. From online and telephone support groups to support groups for men with breast cancer; there is something out there for everyone!
Another way of getting social support to deal with the mental stress that comes with breast cancer is by receiving counseling. Speaking to a professional mental health provider such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or clinical social worker can help in many ways to improve the mental health and quality of life for a survivor. You can receive one-on-one counseling, or counseling within a group — whatever your personal preference is!
Various studies have shown that breast cancer survivors who receive social support from their loved ones find it easier to cope with the mental stress compared to breast cancer survivors who do not receive a lot of social support.
Try Meditation and Relaxation Therapy
Meditation is a great technique to take part in to try and reduce your level of stress during your breast cancer journey. Along with dealing with stress, meditation also helps with depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and many other conditions that result in bad emotional health. Relaxation therapy is another easy technique to use when you are feeling stressed and need to relax. There are many different types of ways you can go about performing relaxation therapy such as imagery, breathing exercises, focused muscle tensing and relaxing, and many other ways. Relaxation therapy also helps with many of the same conditions that affect your mental health such as stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression and more.
Physical Exercise Can Help with Mental Stress
What a lot of people do not know is that physical exercise is another healthy way to deal with mental stress. The recommended amount of time everyone should exercise per week is about 150 minutes. Walking and joining a yoga class are great ways to get moving! Something as fun and relaxing as yoga can make the biggest difference to your days stress level — and can help with many treatment symptoms, such as nausea. Yoga is a great activity to do by yourself or with loved ones in order to better your emotional health.
The amount of stress a breast cancer patient or survivor may feel can be overwhelming. At Komen CSNJ, we are here to help. Visit our website at komencsnj.org to get the support you need.