The joy from our lives can often be clouded over by some of the bad things that may be happening. If you have been through or are going through cancer then I’m sure a lot of you will know this all too well.
At first you may not realise it, you might just think “I’m having a bad day is all” but when that ‘bad day’ never ends you suddenly realise that this isn’t just a phase, it is a problem that needs helping and that is ok.
You are not alone in how you are feeling, in fact In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week according to the leading UK mental health charity Mind.
Getting help as soon as possible is the best way to try and deal with feelings of depression and get you back to your usual self quickly.
Keep your mind busy
A busy mind has little time to wander, helping you keep out any negative thoughts. To keep your mind distracted try to focus on doing small tasks each day. For those of you still going through cancer, this can include anything from filling out a crossword or puzzle, to drawing and watching something funny. Comedy can be the best remedy as it will help keep you laughing and smiling, something we all take for granted sometimes.
Make sure to keep your vitamin D levels up
Winter can be the worst time for depression to develop due to the lack of Sun. The Sun helps your body produce more vitamin D, a vitamin which is important for brain function. Studies have shown that insufficient nutrient levels may play a role in depression and other mental illnesses. So, it is a good idea to try and get outside every day for an hour or two to absorb some sunlight.
For those that are not able to go outside very often, try asking your doctor for some vitamin D supplement tablets or eat foods rich in this nutrient. These include fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, orange juice, cheese, egg yolk and beef liver.
Exercise if you can
Whilst this may not be possible for those still going through treatment, a good way to keep your mind healthy is to keep your body healthy. Exercise helps release endorphins that make us feel good, so it is a great way to keep a positive mindset and stay fit at the same time. If you are new to exercising or haven’t done much in a while then take it easy at first and build yourself up. Going to the gym or doing any activity that raises your heart rate for just 30 minutes each day is all it takes and it could vastly improve your mindset. If you have been through chemotherapy and don’t feel comfortable running outside without a wig or headscarf then take a look at our active headwear collection. Here you can find a variety of different headscarves that are breathable and lightweight, perfect for exercising in!
Write down the positive things that happen during your day
These can be as small as “someone smiled at me as I walked past them today” or “I didn’t throw up after chemo today”. Reminding yourself that not everything is negative can help train your brain to think about the positive occurrences in your life, rather than dwelling on the negative. I know this can be super difficult to tell yourself to do each day, especially if you are going through chemotherapy, but if reading all your positive notes at the end of the day helps you crack even the tiniest of smiles, then it has all been worth it.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
The thought of going to counseling can be terrifying and you may be telling yourself that getting help means you are weak but this is not true! Asking for help is actually an extremely brave thing to do as it means you are facing your own fears head-on.
I would recommend visiting your local GP or your talking to your doctor first so they can go through how you are feeling with you and decide the best course of action. Sometimes it can be a certain medication that is making you feel more negatively, so it is definitely worth asking. If it isn’t this then your GP or doctor may ask if you would like to try counseling. This is a great way to get all your feelings and thoughts out and realigning your thought process. Plus, counseling is only like talking to a friend, it really isn’t so scary once you give it a go. If you are unsure if counseling is for you then I strongly recommend going for a taster session just to see if you are absolutely certain.