By Sara Bondell - May 15, 2023
It’s normal to feel sad, worried or afraid after being diagnosed with cancer. Feelings like
depression, anxiety, insomnia or other mood changes can affect your treatment and your recovery so caring for your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
Here are some tips to maintain your mental health while undergoing treatment:
- Eat a well-balanced diet—make sure you are getting enough calories because calories provide energy. Lean proteins and colorful fruits and vegetables can also boost your strength and positive attitude.
- Stay active—physical activity has been linked to lower rates of depression among cancer survivors. Exercise can also assist in counteracting the fatigue often experienced with treatment.
- Stay connected—while cancer treatment may take a lot of your time, staying involved and connected with your loved ones can alleviate emotional distress and the burden of illness or treatments.
- Talk it out—it often helps to talk about your experience. You can talk about your feelings with another cancer patient, a support group, your health care team or friends and family. Moffitt’s Behavioral Medicine Program offers psychiatrists and clinical psychologists who are available to provide diagnostic assessments, psychotherapeutic interventions and medical management.
- Focus on healing and wellness—make sure you take some time to focus on you. Moffitt’s Integrative Medicine Services combines safe and effective complementary therapies with conventional treatments to reduce the side effects and symptoms associated with cancer treatment. Services include massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation.
- Don’t put up a front—some people may put on a happy face, even if they don’t really feel that way. Studies show being cheerful has little to no effect on cancer. Don’t be afraid to share your true feelings, no matter what they are.