After breast cancer treatment is completed, there are a range of emotions a patient usually goes through. The initial feeling of triumph at beating the odds gives way to feelings of unattractiveness and loss of femininity. Many breast cancer patients struggle with self-esteem, since some of the most sudden and shocking changes are related to their physical appearance. These physical changes can have a serious impact on how survivors feel about themselves, which is why building confidence back up is so important after breast cancer treatment. If you’re struggling with your new body image after breast cancer treatment, here are three tips to help you feel confident and empowered in your skin and embrace your new normal.
The number one pitfall women make when it comes to struggles with their new body image is to suppress those feelings. It’s both hard to come to terms with and hard to vocalize, but the best way to address your overall self-esteem is to talk about it. Find people you’re comfortable enough to share with, whether it be your spouse or partner, one or several close friends and family members, even your doctor. If you’re really struggling, join a support group and share your story and feelings with others who most likely understand what you’re going through. Journaling is a good way to express your feelings if you prefer to write from the heart rather than speak. Just be sure to find someone you trust enough to share your written thoughts with, since it’s so important to be heard.
Eat Well and Stay Active
Everyone should eat right and exercise, but it’s extra crucial for those recovering from cancer treatment. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, breast cancer survivors should increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, decrease their fat intake, and reduce alcohol consumption. Exercise is also important, since physical activity benefits not only your body but your mind as well. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happy. A stronger, healthier body and a happier mind will do a lot to boost your self esteem.
While you can’t force yourself to love what you see when you look in the mirror, you can practice body positivity. The mind is a powerful thing, and if we continually speak to ourselves in an uplifting, empowering manner, we’ll start to believe what we’re saying is true. Avoid putting yourself down on days when you’re feeling low, and focus on all the things about you that you love and that you’re proud of. Know that your current feelings about your body will not last forever, and that you do have the ability to get your groove back. Just stay positive!
If you need help rebuilding your confidence after breast cancer treatment, Pink Ribbons can help. For information about our Post-Op care, please visit our Services Page or give us a call today at 901-417-6060.