In my cancer journey, I found that life after cancer was a huge challenge!
Once treatment was over, and all the regular appointments were no longer part of my routine – there were days when my mind went into overdrive. Paralyzed by fear some days; panicked whenever I felt pain, and completely overwhelmed by how and where I wanted life to go in my post-cancer world.
Regular trips to my GP, at the slightest hint of “something not feeling right”, would lead to multiple ultrasounds and scans – which only added to my anxiety!
The penny dropped and I knew that I needed to work on my mindset, to serve me the best way possible – on a daily basis.
Ever since those early post-cancer days, every morning I feel for what it is I need for the day ahead….5 years in remission and this still serves me well. It means setting the intention that you will do what you can do to look after and nurture yourself. Small intentional actions lead to long term sustainable self-care practices. And with time, each day gets a little easier…
These are the practices that continue to serve me well:
- Start the day with a positive affirmation.
- Gift yourself 10 minutes every morning to simply be, think and feel a positive affirmation.
- It's important to hear your own voice speak the affirmation - it's far more powerful and has more impact.
- End each day with gratitude.
- Feeling grateful and thankful can be challenging at times. Dig deep and find that there is always something to be grateful for.
- What we think and say affects our health and well-being as much as the food we eat, and the exercise we do.
- For every negative thought - find a positive one, write it down to visually re-emphasise it.
- We can't be positive all the time - but it is important to surround ourselves with positivity.
- Positive friends, family and energy influences our general demeanour and helps us to stay in a more positive mindset.
Time for reflection
- Self-reflection gives us an opportunity to develop self-awareness.
- Reflecting on our thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment, allows us to understand why we do what we do and whether it's serving us.
Speak your truth
- Always back yourself - no one knows you, your body, or your mind better than you!
- Speaking your truth can at times mean speaking your fears, and this can leave us feeling vulnerable.
- Connecting with your intuition will help you build self-confidence.
- Deep breathing calms the mind, the nervous system and strengthens your immune system.
- After each affirmation in the morning, and gratitude at night, take 3 deep breaths. Start a new day with positive intention; breathe in the gratitude of the day's gifts.
- Remember, this is a long road – learning to nurture ourselves is the greatest gift we can take from this journey.
Keep safe and well fellow cancer sisters x
This article was written by Veronica Leonardo for Pink Hope's 'From One Patient to Another' series.