Cancer survivors are often under a tremendous amount of stress. Whether anxiously awaiting test results, worrying about the impact of treatment, or simply trying to manage their everyday lives knowing they have cancer, survivors are frequently combating symptoms of stress. This makes it particularly important for those with a diagnosis to be mindful of additional external pressures, particularly those related to their job.
Stress caused by work is common and often unavoidable. It can result from the physical structure of the workplace, a demanding schedule, or the volume and type of work being done. Despite the inevitability of work-related stress, implementing practical techniques throughout the workweek can make you better equipped to alleviate some stressors. A recent article from Thrive Global outlines ways to address and ease work-related stress. We’ve highlighted a few that are particularly relevant to cancer survivors:
Analyze situations. Stress tends to be most intense when we feel a lack of control over our circumstances. It can be a good idea to take the time to analyze your situation in order to recognize what, specifically, is causing the anxiety, so you’re better able to identify a solution. To avoid the overwhelming feeling of needing to get everything done, break down responsibilities and tasks to a point where they feel manageable.
Exhale. This sounds simple enough, but many people forget to reset and center themselves when they’re feeling overcome by stress. The mere act of taking a deep breath or meditating to clear your mind for just a few minutes throughout the day can help you refocus and manage your energy in a healthy way.
Plan your schedule. Workplace distractions and interruptions are a given; so the more structure you provide for yourself, whatever that may look like, the more in control you will be of your day and time. This can be achieved by prioritizing, organizing, and setting boundaries.
Take breaks. As discussed above (regarding taking time to do some deep breathing exercises), dividing up your day enables you to reset and adjust your mindset regularly, so you’re able to get more done without stress impeding your focus. If breaks are not built into your work schedule, it might be worth exploring the use of reasonable accommodations as a way of securing breaks, through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In addition to the tips above, be sure to explore CAC’s article on methods for relieving stress. For more in-depth suggestions, check out our webinar on Managing Long-Term Stress, which can be viewed in our Video Archive.
Navigating work and a cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming, so take some time to read through CAC’s Living & Working with Cancer Workbook for practical tips and tools to make balancing work and cancer more manageable. Despite the feeling that managing cancer is a full-time job in itself, applying stress-relieving tactics can alleviate some of the pressure and help you to maintain your job while taking proper care of yourself emotionally and physically.