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Ten 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: going with you for a walk or just listening when you want to talk.

3. Communicate with your health care team. 

If you are experiencing short- or long-term or late side effects let them know. Don’t suffer in silence. There are things they can do to help mitigate many of the problems you are experiencing.

4. Retain as much control of your life as is reasonable. 

Having had cancer can make it difficult for you to feel in charge of your life. Take steps to take back some of the activities or decisions you may have delegated to others while you were undergoing treatment.

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 wellbeing. Relaxation is something that you might have to learn to put 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 improve your wellbeing. 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. It can be scary after cancer to set goals, but start out small 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 connections.