6 Tips to Help You Stay in Control of Your Wellbeing After a Cancer Diagnosis 

It’s normal to feel a wide range of emotions when you’re diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, any form of cancer, or a long-term health condition. It’s a life-changing moment that can affect your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health.

It can be challenging to cope with your diagnosis. Staying in control of your wellbeing could help you feel more confident managing the day-to-day impact.

1. Accept how you feel

No two people react to their diagnosis in the same way. You could be feeling fear, anger, anxiety, or a mix of all three and more. You might think of it as a challenge to overcome or feel hopeless and scared. Whatever you are feeling, it’s perfectly normal and valid.

Try not to feel guilty about your feelings and give yourself permission to express them. You may be encouraged to try and stay positive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cry or find a safe way to express your anger. For example, keeping a journal or using art therapy could help you understand and express your emotions.

2. Take things one day at a time

After your cancer diagnosis, thinking about the future can be overwhelming. Try to take each day as it comes and stay in the present moment. One way to manage your feelings is to set small and achievable goals and then reward yourself every time you manage them — whether that’s walking out into the garden or having a short chat with a friend. If you’re struggling to stay in control of your wellbeing, be kind to yourself by taking it one day at a time.

3. Make positive lifestyle changes

Staying active and eating a healthy diet are positive changes you can make after your cancer diagnosis. These simple steps can help boost your physical and mental wellbeing and help you control intense feelings. 

Eating well can help you maintain your energy levels and improve your mood. Making small adjustments to your diet could also help protect you against the risk of illnesses like stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. However, eating regular meals might feel challenging when you are going through treatment as side-effects may include taste changes and nausea. So, try talking to a dietician, nurse, or GP about positive changes you can make in the way you eat.

Even gentle exercise can help release endorphins that give a positive mood boost. Being active after your diagnosis could help reduce fatigue, build strength and flexibility, and increase your confidence. 

A gentle walk, going for a swim or yoga can be an excellent way to ease into exercise. If you’re feeling ill, listen to your body. Not pushing yourself too hard is essential.

4. Communicate with friends and family

It can be easy to feel isolated after your cancer diagnosis. That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep the lines of communication open with family and friends. Being honest about your emotions will help you to support each other.

Your diagnosis can also affect the people closest to you. Accepting their help, and encouraging them to accept help in return, is one of the best ways to ease the stress and tension of the situation.

Remember, your true friends will provide support whatever happens, even if they can’t fully understand what you’re going through. Be open and honest and try not to worry that the content of your concerns might upset people. You might find that they are more upset that you’re not sharing your concerns. The more you talk, the better their chance of being able to give you the emotional and practical support you need.

5. Try relaxation techniques

Your initial cancer diagnosis can be upsetting and stressful. It’s important to manage stress so you don’t use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate or trigger health conditions like high blood pressure, shingles, and asthma. Long-term stress could potentially weaken your immune system.

You could try yoga and breathing exercises to release physical stress. Or you could try meditation and mindfulness to deal with stressful emotions. Some people find talking therapies like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) can help identify clear strategies for dealing with the emotional impact of your diagnosis.

6. Consider joining a support group

Joining a cancer support group could help you get the emotional support you need to manage your wellbeing. You may find it helpful to talk through your intense feelings with other people who’ve been through the same experience. And interacting with people who understand what you’re going through could help with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

A support group could benefit your wellbeing if you’re feeling misunderstood and need to talk to people with first-hand experience of your situation. If you need additional support, try connecting to our follicular lymphoma community.

Develop your own coping strategy with the Follicular Lymphoma Foundation

As everybody’s reaction to their cancer diagnosis is different, the same goes for your chosen coping strategy. 

Whatever helped you cope with tough times before your diagnosis will likely give you comfort now. So please don’t give up on friends, your favourite activities or spiritual support but use them as the basis of a wellbeing strategy that works for you.

For further guidance and support, do not hesitate to visit our Support Hub or get in touch with our team who will always be there to support you.