Throughout your transplant recovery, you’ve likely felt stress along the way. And today, your stress may be very different from what it was before your transplant.
Too much stress can be a serious strain on your physical and emotional health. Signs of stress can include headaches, muscle aches, upset stomach, difficulty sleeping and feeling irritable or anxious. Here are some tips to help you identify and reduce or manage your stress:
- Keep a journal. When you feel stressed, write down what’s causing your stress, how it makes you feel and what you’re doing to feel better. Are there any patterns or themes? This can help you find out what triggers your stress and what helps you relax.
- Talk to a friend, loved one, counselor or support group. Just talking about your stress can sometimes help you let it go. Or the person you’re talking to may help you find ways to reduce your stress. Contact our BMT Patient Navigators for help finding a support group or counselor. Call 1 (888) 999-6743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Get moving. Exercise, like walking, helps many people manage stress. Find a physical activity that you enjoy, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe and make it a routine. Even a little exercise each day can help.
- Express your creativity. Activities such as drawing, painting, dancing, playing a musical instrument or singing can help relieve stress, even if you’ve never participated in these activities before. Always wanted to take up a hobby? Maybe now is the time.
- Set aside relaxation time. Yoga, meditation and deep breathing activate your body’s relaxation response, even if you only have 10 minutes a day to relax.
- Rest your body and feed it well. Feeling tired can be a source of stress. Get a good night’s sleep by limiting caffeine and alcohol. Eat a healthy breakfast. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Trying a new recipe or visiting a farmers’ market could help you add fruits and vegetables to your meals.
- Tell your story. Sharing your experience with other recipients, and hearing their stories in return, may help you feel more hopeful by connecting with others in a meaningful way. Learn more about ways to tell your story at BeTheMatch.org/BMTJourneys.
Do your best to understand what’s causing your stress and find a coping strategy that works for you.
Resources for you
For more support, call us at 1 (888) 999-6743 to talk with a BMT patient navigator who can provide confidential one-on-one professional guidance and support. Or visit BeTheMatch.org/one-on-one to learn about and access free telephone support and counseling services.
Cancer.net is a trustworthy source of information online. They offer a free podcast on managing stress, information on relaxation techniques and more.
BMTSupport.org offers an interactive chat area and online support groups for transplant patients, recipients and caregivers.