10 Actions You Can Take to Improve Your Quality of Life
1. Take one day and make one decision at a time.
Try to focus on resolving only today's problems. Avoid projecting worst-case scenarios for the future. Taking
one small step at a time can help you feel less vulnerable and give you a greater level of control.
2. Ask for support.
Be open with your family and friends about how you feel and how they can support you. Offer specific examples, such as: driving you to appointments, researching sources for financial support, or just listening when you want to talk. It is also good
practice to take someone with you to medical appointments to take notes and help you remember instructions. Your nurse or oncology social worker can offer a wealth of information.
3. Communicate with your health care team.
Prepare a list of questions for each appointment. If you don't understand something, ask for clarification. Ask to see x-rays or scans to get a better picture of your status. If you do not develop a good relationship with your doctor, consider finding another. In general, it is useful to get a second opinion on your diagnosis and treatment to feel more confident about next steps.
4. Retain as much control of your life as is reasonable.
Having cancer can make it difficult for you to feel in charge of your life and your care. Work with your doctor, nurse, and caregiver to develop a plan that gives you as much control over your life as you desire and can comfortably handle.
5. Acknowledge and express your feelings.
A diagnosis of cancer can trigger many strong emotions. Take time to listen to yourself. Find constructive ways to express your feelings through writing, talking, physical activity or creative pursuits. Consider professional support if you feel that depression or anxiety is hampering your ability to function well.
6. Seek support from other cancer survivors
Often, people find a sense of comfort when they communicate with others affected by cancer. Ask your doctor, nurse, or social worker for local support groups. You can also contact the Cancer Support Community for ways to connect one-on-one, in groups, or online with others.
7. Learn relaxation techniques.
"Relaxation" refers to a calm,controlled physical state that will enhance your well-being. Relaxation is something that you might have to learn, or build it into your day, but it is important to do so. Consider music that makes you happy, reading a book, or taking a walk. Yoga, tai-chi, or meditation programs are also helpful. Take time to enjoy the moment.
8. Do what you enjoy.
Try to find humor in the unexpected moments of each day. Consider activities that you enjoy and can do comfortably. If you need to spend time alone, allow yourself that.
9. Make healthy lifestyle choices.
It's never too late to make changes that will absolutely improve your well-being. Improving your diet, including exercise in your routine, and maintaining intimacy are all ways of feeling better both physically and emotionally.
10. Maintain a spirit of hope.
Hope is desirable and reasonable. Even if your cancer journey is complicated, you can set small goals and enjoy daily pleasures. You may want to redefine how and when you experience hope by focusing on your spiritual beliefs, cultural customs, and family