Your Psychological Wellbeing Care Plan

If you’ve struggled with your wellbeing before cancer, then you may already be aware of signs that you are struggling. For example, some people might notice that when they are struggling they stop doing things that they enjoy, or they stop exercising or eating well. Other people will notice different signs. By knowing yourself better, and knowing what is normal for you, you can be more prepared to take action when you start to see signs that things are difficult. This can allow you to take action before things start to spiral to a more difficult place.

It is important to get to know your wellbeing following you cancer, as due to effects of treatments (outlined above), your general wellbeing might be different now since your treatment. Having compassion, patience and acceptance for where you are right now following your treatment is likely to be really helpful for you, rather than comparing yourself to what you could do before cancer. You can also revisit these signs as you continue on your recovery journey and your mental and physical wellbeing continues to change.

You may want to spend the time putting together a psychological care plan for your wellbeing. If it is helpful, you can share this plan with family and friends, and discuss with them whether there is anything that they can do to help you to put this plan in place or support you with it. Below are the steps to create this plan, and the following link contains worksheets for you to create this plan for yourself.

Step One: Identifying your psychological needs

Before you can write your plan, it is important to identify what your unique psychological needs are in terms of your wellbeing. This will be different for everyone, so it’s important to take the time to get to know your needs, so that your psychological care plan is individualised for you.

The following questions may help you to identify your needs:

For example:

  • Spending time with your family of friends
  • Playing sports
  • Any specific hobbies, etc.

For example:

  • Eating healthily
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking enough water
  • Spending time outside etc.

Remember to consider any specific needs that you may have following your cancer diagnosis, for example, treatment plans written with your medical team and other allied healthcare professionals such as physiotherapy, dietetics, etc.

For example:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Helping others
  • Getting myself organised, etc.

For example:

  • Are you a confident person?
  • Do you like spending lots of time with others or do you prefer your own company?
  • Do you like to get out of the house into nature, or do you enjoy comedies?

For example:

  • Taking a long bath
  • Catching up with a loved one
  • Enjoying a special meal, etc

For example:

  • Speaking to a loved one
  • Having some time out
  • Going for a walk, exercising.

For example:

  • “This will pass”
  • “I’ve survived this before”
  • “I can do this”, etc.

For example:

  • Keeping a diary
  • Chewing gum
  • Watching comedies, etc.

Step Two: Making your Psychological Wellbeing Care Plan

After having identified your psychological needs above, you can use your answers to help you to answer the following questions, the answers of which will form the basis of your psychological care plan.

Consider both what you need to do to stay mentally well (e.g., schedule in some down time) and also physically well (e.g., eating, drinking, sleeping, playing).

Also consider your values.

Consider other aspects of wellbeing or lifestyle choices.

For example:

  • Drink less alcohol
  • Avoid smoking or recreational drugs, etc.

Consider what steps you need to take to achieve the above two points, such as making healthy meal plans, setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed at a specific time, scheduling in exercise and prioritising this in the same way you would prioritise a medical appointment, etc.

For example:

  • Consider how will would keep yourself on track if you started to lose motivation?

Consider friends, family and any healthcare professionals you are working with.

Research shows that we are more likely to stick to things if we enjoy them and they fit well into our lifestyle. How can you make this plan sustainable for your on-going health goals?

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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