Returning to Normalcy: Tips for Cancer Survivors

Jun 5 • 2015

Surviving a cancer diagnosis is an accomplishment, but it can be difficult to return to normal life when treatment is over. Having cancer leads to a variety of lifestyle changes that become a normal part of your routine. However, finding your way back to normalcy is easier than it may seem when keeping these tips in mind:

Exercise and Fitness
Physical activity is important when you are living cancer-free. Try to exercise 150 minutes or more each week and incorporate some kind of strength training two times per week or more. Being active can improve muscle strength, body composition, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and self-esteem. If you were on bedrest during treatment, you likely lost some of your endurance. This is normal and can be regained. Speak with your doctor to determine when you can begin exercising and if possible, find someone who will work out with you to help keep you on track.

Proper Diet and Nutrition
Having a healthy, well-balanced diet can help you regain your strength and restore tissue. When you are meal planning, choose from a variety of food groups for the best results.

Some common recommendations include:

  • At least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day
  • High-fiber foods
  • Decrease fat intake
  • Limit red meat to 3 to s4 services per week
  • Pick low-fat dairy products
  • Avoid foods that are salt-cured, smoked, or pickled
  • Limit alcohol intake

Address Your Emotions
Many people become emotional when their treatment ends, so finding a way to reduce stress and feel comfortable is important. Speak with family, friends, a support group, your church, a counselor, or anyone else who you feel might be able to help you sort through your emotions. Additionally, take time for yourself. Pick up a new hobby or find a new way to bring happiness to your life now that you are cancer-free. The most important thing to do is realize that not everything is in your control. Identifying the things you have no control over can help you reduce stress and focus on the things you can change.

Getting your life back to normal is a process. Remember to stay positive, be patient, and focus on your good health.