A diagnosis of breast cancer can lead to significant changes that impact on you and your family’s life. Initially it can feel like there are so many decisions and appointments, and then you may feel like you are left working out what you want for yourself after everything is completed.
Many women talk about how everyone thinks that they should return to normal, but in reality, their normal has shifted and is often a puzzle to figure out.
This can be a great opportunity to re-evaluate what people want for themselves moving forward. Often we live very busy lives with no time to ourselves and no consideration for what we need to live a life that is better for us. So how can we achieve a better balance in our lives?
• Give yourself time to work out who you are
• Be kind and caring towards yourself
• Be more mindful by grounding yourself into the present
Mindful self-compassion helps you to respond with kindness and understanding as you learn to accept difficult emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. It entails us to evoke good will towards ourselves, especially when we are suffering or struggling, and actively comforting ourselves just like we would a friend who is struggling.
Here are a few practical suggestions for you to consider:
• Write five compassionate phrases on a card and read them each day to yourself;
• Write a compassionate letter to yourself as if you were a friend who is unconditionally loving, accepting, kind and compassionate;
• Instead of being critical towards yourself say something kind to yourself first;
• Use your senses to connect to the present when you are feeling critical towards yourself: What can you see? What can you hear? What can you touch? What can you smell? What can you taste?
• Stay connected to supportive family and friends; and
• Communication is the key.