Living with cancer blog

Tips for cancer survivors to create a new normal

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. June 30, 2012

How many times have you thought that it would be so nice to get back to your normal life as a cancer survivor?

This week, I thought we could talk about the concept of a new normal. The idea is mentioned quite a bit to people living with cancer. I think that everyone has a variety of feelings and opinions about what a new normal should be.

Living with a diagnosis of cancer is like riding a rollercoaster. Each day might bring new feelings, worries and emotions — both positive and negative. Instead of constantly thinking about what life was like before your diagnosis of cancer, focus your energy on the present day.

If negative thoughts start creeping in, recognize them and then tuck them away, don't dwell long on them. When you have a good day, be aware of what was good about it, think about what makes you happy and brings you joy.

Create a new normal by living one day at a time ...

  • Be open to your emotions — don't be afraid to feel both negative and positive emotions.
  • Realize that some things are out of your control — focus on the things you do have control of and take action on these instead.
  • Take action to reduce stressors — chronic stress will not help your situation. Explore relaxation and stress relief strategies such as exercise, Tai Chi, yoga, meditation or expressive writing or art.
  • Set aside 30 minutes every day for yourself — discover new ways to bring happiness and contentment into your life.
  • Try something new — maybe you have always wanted to start an herb garden, grow orchids, take a cooking glass or learn to dance.

The idea is to find a new normal and embrace it. Don't look back, but remember what makes you happy and recognize any new limitations. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you create a new normal every day.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

June 30, 2012