Monday 14 May 2018
Robyn Volkers â€“ Maggie's
Having cancer, or supporting someone with cancer, can be very stressful and can affect both your mental and physical health.
The information on this page will help you find out more about what causes stress when you have cancer, how to identify the signs, your personal triggers, how to manage stress and how ¾ÞÈéÎÞÂë can help.
Stress is your bodyâ€™s response to feeling threatened, scared or under pressure â€“ all of which are common when you're affected by cancer.
At times of stress, chemicals are released by your body to boost energy and make you more alert so you can protect yourself.
This can be helpful short term as it can give you strength to manage physical tasks or emotions at a tough time.
Over longer periods, however, stress can be an exhausting extra burden at an already difficult time.
We show stress in different ways and the effects can build up slowly over time.
This means it can be difficult to notice signs of long term stress and the added pressure it causes in yourself or in others.
If you are stressed you may experience your emotions much more intensely.
You may feel feel tearful, irritable, detached or numb or have feelings that you canâ€™t cope.
Stress can also trigger physical symptoms including headaches, irritable bowel symptoms, pain and rashes.
Your sleep and appetite may be affected, you may feel sick, or get frequent colds as stress can reduce your resistance to infection.
People with cancer and their families report several factors which can add to stress. These include:
You may have to deal with other peopleâ€™s worries and misperceptions too.
For example - people may tell you that â€˜you must stay positiveâ€™, others may try to avoid you, and some will want you to share every detail.
Stress can also happen once treatment has finished.
Whilst you are undergoing treatment, most of your time and energy is focused on your treatment and getting healthy.
It is only when the immediate crisis is over, and you are trying to adjust to life post cancer, that stress may occur.
It is a common point at which many people may seek help, and think about stress management.
Stress management includes gaining control of your thoughts, emotions, worries and how you deal with problems.
It can also involve making changes and taking back control of other areas of your life, through exercise and a balanced diet, for example.
Finding out more about what causes stress, identifying the signs, your personal triggers and developing your own personal stress tool kit can all help you to manage stress, allowing you to focus your energy elsewhere.
Have a look at the suggested blogs and links on this page and think about how you can start to manage your stress
Maggieâ€™s runs free six-week â€˜Managing Stressâ€™ courses for anyone affected by cancer.
We also have relaxation groups, mindfulness courses and gentle exercises classes (including tai chi and yoga).
We have professional teams to help you to start to build you own stress management tool kit.
Drop into one of our centres to talk things over.
Last review: Oct 2021 | Next review: Oct 2022
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