Achieving your goals

What happens when life gets busy or I don’t have the time to focus
on my wellbeing?

As noted in the wellbeing plans above, you will face barriers to prioritising your wellbeing.
Life can be busy, stressful and unpredictable, especially following cancer treatment.
It is so important to be aware and notice when this happens, and bring compassion to yourself to allow yourself to prioritise your wellbeing.

When our wellbeing is good, our physical health improves and we are more able to cope with stresses in life. So investing in our wellbeing will help us to be the best versions of ourselves and able to cope with what life throws our way. You can only be there as a family member/parent/friend/colleague (etc.) if you are well in yourself, both psychologically
and physically.

Make sure that you complete the relevant sections in the wellbeing plans of how you will prioritise your wellbeing, or get back on track if this starts to slip. You can update this as time goes on as you get to know yourself more, and see what works for you and what doesn’t.

How do I stay on track with positive lifestyle changes and my goals?

As well as prioritising SMART goals, the below pointers may help you to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle and wellbeing habits:

  • The first step to changing your behaviours is to develop an awareness around what you are doing in the first place.
  • Regular things that you do (e.g., brushing your teeth every night, having a few drinks every night) become a habit.
  • Notice what regular habits you have, which of these you would like to keep, and which you would like to change.
  • Develop SMART goals around the things you want to do.
  • Wherever possible, make the healthy choice the easiest choice.
  • Adapt your environment to help you with your goals, e.g., moving unhealthy snacks from your home if your goal is to eat healthy.
  • Get your friends and family involved to help you.
  • Plan for obstacles to your goals and how you will overcome these.
  • If you have a “slip up” then try not to worry- embrace this and move on. It’s not about perfection: it’s about overall habits rather than a few bad days.
  • Reward yourself for achievements.
  • Identify negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
  • The more you practice these habits the easier they will become until they are
    the new routine.
  • Thinking about and visualising how your changes in habits will affect you in the future may help you to achieve your goals.
  • Research shows that even small changes in nutrition and exercise levels can benefit your overall health.
  • Try different strategies until you find something that works for you, favouring habits that are sustainable rather than quick fixes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family/friends or registered healthcare professionals.
  • Things may go wrong – this is okay! Change is a process; keep moving forwards.

How do I manage the expectations of my family and friends, as well as manage their understanding of where I may be at and what I need?

Cancer can be a hidden disability in that the signs of ill health may not be immediately visible. This can also be the case following cancer treatment. This can lead people to feel unsupported or that there is a lack of compassion for what they are going through.

Some people can feel pressure to “go back to normal” after cancer treatment. Life seems to go back to normal for everyone else, but your life may be very different. This can feel very isolating or strange for some people.

Every situation is individual, but some people may find that cancer has changed their relationships. Sometimes friends and family can process the psychological aspects earlier in your cancer journey as they are not also going through the physical toll of treatment.
This can mean that they need less time to adjust following the end of treatment
compared to you. Equally it might be that you want things to get back to normal but other people are anxious about you, or are looking out for signs that something could be wrong. Working on communication with your family and loved ones can be very helpful, making sure that you communicate with each other what you need. If you have developed wellbeing plans, then sharing these with your loved ones might help with these discussions.

This can also be an issue if you are able to return to work. Occupational support and being ongoing assessment of what support you will need is essential.

Further support and help:

The advice on these pages is designed to help you prepare for the treatment ahead and support you through to recovery.

If you need further advice and support please discuss this with your key worker or healthcare professional.

  • Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Cancer support line:
    02920 745655  (9:00am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4:00pm)
  • Macmillan Cancer Support:
    0808 808 00 00
  • Maggie’s Cardiff:
    029 2240 8024
  • Tenovus Cancer Care:
    0808 808 1010
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