moving from breast cancer survivor to thriver

18 Jun 2020

Shifting from survivor to thriver is a big step. One everyone arrives at in their own time. It requires looking inward and letting go, which for many is easier said than done. When you’re ready, here are a few tips to help you move to this next phase of healing.

commit to thriving

Thriving is about learning to enjoy life again. But first, you need to make peace with the past. And not everyone is ready to leave the familiarity of the survivor role. There can be a strange comfort in it.

Remind yourself that whatever happens, you’ll always be a survivor, but don’t let the label stand in your way. Instead, take everything you’ve gained along your journey and use it to propel you forward. It takes strength and commitment, but becoming a thriver involves a conscious decision to stop just existing and start really living.

surround yourself with positivity

As they say, stay close to people who feel like sunshine. This can be a vulnerable time in your life. You need people who empower you and make you feel good. Consider leaning on other breast cancer thrivers who have been right where you are and can lift you up when you’re feeling down.

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think good thoughts

Pay attention to your thinking. Positive thoughts are just as important as positive people. Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, negative thoughts seem to have a way of sneaking in. Take note when they slip by, and fight them off by repeating true statements to yourself. Anything of the “I’m strong” variety always seems to do the trick, but it takes practice, so trying using some of the prompts below.

I am fearless.
I am powerful and beautiful.
I’m more than my cancer.

Journaling can also help fend off negative thoughts. And it’s a great place to keep track of the small things that bring you joy. Once you start to really look around, you’ll likely find there are many.

plan for the future

After spending so much time living one day at a time, it can be hard to get used to looking to the future. But doing so can give you a renewed sense of joy and optimism. So, make a vision board, write a bucket list, jot down goals—whatever gets you excited about the days ahead.

Ask yourself where you want to go, what you want to do, who you want to see. Really think about what you want your life to look like and start making it happen. This is the time to take a chance on yourself and try new things. If you want to ride a camel through the desert while donning sequins and drinking a piña colada, by all means. Or start small and seek out a new hobby, especially If travel or leaving the home isn’t an immediate option.

give yourself a break

There’s no how-to guide for thriving. Learning to feel comfortable in this next stage of healing takes time, and everyone moves at their own pace. There will be good days and bad days. But there will be days, many of them, so make the choice to enjoy them.

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