Having cancer is a life-changing experience. Your body changes, your outlook changes and sometimes, your confidence can be affected too.
When you finish treatment, trying to pick up where you left off is difficult. Your family and friends are busy trying to get on with their own lives & you haven’t got any hospital appointments to attend for months. So…what do you do now? How do you gain the confidence to go back to work or start socialising again?
In my ‘Pathway to Courage’ programme, I like to focus on a few different elements to take my clients from feeling afraid and unworthy to owning their experience and building their self-belief.
Here are my top tips for building your confidence after cancer:
Focus on your mindset
Your mindset can make you or break you. It’s the one thing that will be able to pick you up when difficult situations come your way.
If you’re stuck in a fixed mindset, where you believe that everything is happening to you & you have no control over it, you won’t be able to change your life. But if you recognise this about yourself and step into a growth mindset, you’ll notice how differently you deal with problems that arise.
Those with a fixed mindset usually get bogged down in negativity whereas those with a growth mindset are able to see every experience as a learning curve. That’s not to say that they don’t have days where they feel down, but they’re able to pick themselves back up and start again.
I spend a whole session with my clients focusing in on this as it’s so important to your post-cancer experience & your whole life.
Learn to love your body
Your body will change, there’s no doubt about it. Whether you lose weight, put weight on, are left with scars or have had major surgery, you might feel different to the person you used to be before you were diagnosed.
Loving your body can be hard when it’s changed so much in such a short amount of time. But it’s the only one you’ve got. And although there may be times when you feel frustrated or weak or upset, there is something special in the way your body has managed to recover from cancer.
Spend time meditating and using body scanning techniques to get in touch with each part of your body. Eat a balanced diet to feel good, take some time each night to nourish your skin with moisturiser and get into an easygoing exercise routine.
Show your body some gratitude for what it has got you through – it’s survived a lot.
Spend some time getting to know the new you
Yes, that’s right. Because in my opinion, you can’t go back to the old you. So much has changed that I don’t believe you can step back into your old life. You’re so much more than that now.
The new you will have different priorities in life. They’ll be analysing things in a different way and spending time focusing on different things. You need to get to know this new version of you so you can have the confidence to let other people get to know you too.
This starts with spending time alone with your thoughts. I encourage my clients to journal every day to see what comes up. It can be a great way to tap into your thoughts and get to understand how you’re actually feeling. Meditating every day can also help you to stop your racing mind and spend time dwelling on what’s important.
However you do it, make sure you set aside time to focus on yourself and get to know yourself better.
Take baby steps back into your work and social life
You might find it overwhelming if you throw yourself straight back into your job or socialising with your friends. Then this overwhelm will discourage you from doing it again and you end up in a cycle of negativity.
Taking small steps can help you build the confidence to get back into life properly. With each goal you hit, you’ll grow in confidence and you’ll be able to gear yourself up to the next stage so you’ll end up feeling like nothing can hold you back.
Make goals you know you can stick to and try your best to hit them. If you do, celebrate. If you don’t, fine. We step back and readjust.
I hope this article helps but if you need some more support, feel free to drop me a message and I’ll let you know how I can help.