Have you ever wondered why you often feel better when you get together with friends, enjoy a change of scenery or share some laughs? It isn’t an accident and you can almost always rely on it.
After a cancer diagnosis and a journey through treatment, regardless of where we are in the process, many of us search for strategies to give us confidence that we’re doing all we can to manage our disease. We attend to our medical appointments and tests. We consider nutritional modifications or changes in our physical and mental exercise habits. We look for new ways to develop stress management skills.
All of these things can be beneficial and important to our health and confidence. But… are we taking advantage of the most enjoyable of strategies? That strategy is socializing. It’s easy to think of socializing as trivial or unimportant. But it’s really one of the simplest and most valuable tools you can use to help you through any tough time.
One of the natural by-products of spending time with others is laughter. Everyone knows there’s truth in the old saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” Many studies can be cited which demonstrate the physiological impact and benefits of laughter. But common sense tells it all: laughing makes you feel good, brightens your day, and gives you a breather that can carry you through whatever your next steps might be.
Give Your Mind A Break
Even when laughter isn’t part of the equation, just being with others makes a difference. Most people report they feel better when they take time out to engage with others. The simplest social interactions can distract you from whatever is on your mind and give you a “vacation” from day-to-day worries. Those issues may not go away, but after a break from them, they somehow feel lighter and more manageable.
Making the Time
Taking advantage of socialization can be a challenge. As women, we’re masters at putting others at the top of our “to do” list. We feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. We can’t be convinced that doing something we want to do is just as important and valuable as doing something we have to do. But, as one young woman said in a recent email: “I need to remember to make myself a priority.” Wise words we all need to take to heart.
When You’re Ready
How you feel about socializing can change over time. When faced with cancer diagnosis and treatment, your mind overflows with new information you never expected to deal with. Your emotions can be all over the map, changing from one day to the next. While immersed in this, going to a party or family gathering, even hanging out with friends on the soccer field or at the coffee shop, may seem unbearable. As time goes on, you might start to feel like you want to get “back to normal.” You slowly dip your toes back into the pool that is your social life, looking for places and activities that fit into your comfort zone.
How We Can Help
At Support Connection, we design our wide variety of programs and activities with one goal in mind: Making it easy for you to spend time with others in whatever way works for you. Not good at small talk? We have programs with fun activities to focus on. Worried you won’t know anyone? There’s always a Peer Counselor there to make introductions and put everyone at ease. Feel you’d like to talk but not sure where to start? A support group will get that started for you. Worried you might cry? That’s okay with us. You may end up laughing too!
The biggest benefit of all: You’ll never have to wonder if the person sitting next you understands what you’re going through. No matter what phase of “living with cancer” you’re in at the moment…. even if you’ve never joined us before…. you’ll be among friends at any of our programs.
Make a vow to yourself: Spend time with family, friends, and peers with common interests. Give yourself a chance to be with others so you can share joys, struggles and laughter. Check out all the programs and activities on our website and call us to register. Get out of the house and away from your desk. Socialize. It’s good for your health.
To find programs and activities that will work for you:
- Visit our website often. Check our calendar, social activities page, education and wellness page, and support group page.
- Join our email list: Click here to receive monthly updates on upcoming programs.
- Contact our Peer Counselors: They’ll help you choose programs to fit your needs. Call 914-962-6402 or toll free 800-532-4290. Or, send them an email.