A change in body image.
Whether you have just been diagnosed, are currently going through treatment, or post-treatment, a change in body image is something that most people going through cancer treatment have experienced.
Every person going through cancer knows that their appearances may change during the short term or permanently. Just like being diagnosed, there are different stages that happen after that day. There is the realisation that changes are perhaps going to happen, there is the period in which the changes take place, and then there are the permanent changes.
Each step of this can be difficult to accept and you may feel like you cannot talk about it even to your loved ones. Your loved ones may not see the differences that you have noticed, or you may feel like you can no longer relate to them on this topic. Perhaps when you have brought it up you have been told that you look great or told to just focus on your health, but you still can’t help to grieve and compare to the past you.
You’re not alone and what you’re feeling is valid. Even if you have not changed physically but feel different in your body, you are still allowed to acknowledge changes in your body confidence.
High self-esteem and body confidence are possible right now. High self-esteem will help you through your journey.
Below are tips on how you can boost your confidence or the confidence of a loved one during this time.
1. Find your people
Reach out to other people who are going through the same or a similar experience to what you’re going through right now. If you don’t know anyone in person then check out online communities. If you are on social media platforms such as Instagram then follow the accounts of other people going through their cancer journey. Maybe even reach out to them by private message and get a conversation going.
2. Ask around about local organisations
Check out what is in your local or surrounding areas. There may be different clubs and organisations for people going through cancer treatment such as Look Good Feel Better which is a global organisation hosting beauty workshops for cancer patients. Ask around!
3. Wear clothes that make you feel fabulous
Wear items that make you feel wonderful when you wear them. Remember, comfortable clothes can still be stylish. Wear colours, fabrics, and textures that you love. Add a splash of bold colour, wear a fun accessory, just have fun with it.
4. Be kind to yourself
During times like this your inner critic can be harsher than usual. Remember, just because you think something critical, doesn’t mean that it’s right. We spent all our time in our own heads, so make it a nice place to be. Make a point of thinking kind thoughts about yourself, saying kind words out loud, and being positive about yourself. Find kind actions that work for you. Write in a journal, go to a support group, talk to your loved ones, and take care of you.
5. Talk to your health care team
Tell them about your body image concerns. Remember that they help people in your shoes every day, they have a wealth of knowledge on the topic and can provide you with excellent advice and suggestions. Remember that your body image is part of the cancer journey, you’re allowed to discuss physical changes with your health care team.
6. Give yourself a boost however possible
Do the things that make you feel good. This could be staying as physically active as you are able to, surrounding yourself with positive people, and filling your life with humour. Now is a great time to create a self-care plan.
Seek out someone to talk to professionally. You are going through huge changes right now. It’s never a bad idea to speak to a counsellor, therapist, support group, or body confidence coach. You deserve all the support that you need right now.
If you’re on your cancer journey and are struggling with your body image, then feel free to get in contact with me. If you have a loved one going through the journey, then feel free to forward this article.