Have you ever found yourself feeling so stressed that you have to put things on hold? April is Stress Awareness Month, and the Cancer Support Community recognizes that a cancer diagnosis can influence stress levels. That is why we are celebrating the resources we have for stress management. These tips below can be used regularly to ensure healthy stress levels or during times when you feel especially stressed.
1. Schedule time for self-care. When things are especially hectic and overwhelming, it can feel as though you barely have time to eat or sleep, let alone take time to do a leisurely activity. However, these are the times when caring for yourself is most important, as it directly works to relieve stress and bring calmness into your life. If you feel yourself feeling especially stressed on a certain day, you can set aside tasks that do not need to be completed that day in order to take some time to do what you enjoy and find relaxing such as yoga, journaling, etc.
2. Break down tasks into smaller steps. People are often presented with large tasks that can seem daunting. In the case of living with cancer or caring for someone with cancer, this may include coordinating financial support for treatments, figuring out employment changes, or navigating the presence of cancer within the family. Although these tasks may seem difficult, they may actually not be as stressful if you break them down into daily or weekly goals. That way, you will create a clear plan for how to complete the task, while also only doing small amounts each day to avoid feeling overwhelmed while still feeling a sense of accomplishment.
3. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly. When things are particularly stressful, it is often difficult to rationalize taking time to cook a healthy meal, sleep the number of hours needed, or exercise. However, by incorporating these activities into your daily routine, you can better maintain your stress level. Eating well and sleeping enough can give you enough energy to deal with the stressors of your day. Exercising helps relieve stress by releasing endorphins and concentrating your focus.
4. Ask for help. Stress can arise when you feel there is just too much for you to get done. This is where help from others can reduce stress. Your friends, family, and others can help with tasks that you can focus on the most important or pressing matter at the time. Help can also come in the form of talking to a loved one about your stress. You can also do this through CSC’s Cancer Support Helpline at 1-888-793-9355 or online resources.
For more information on stress management, check out CSC’s managing stress page. Remember, although Stress Awareness Month is only in April, you can be mindful of your stress levels and care for yourself all year long!