Tips on dealing with anxiety and stress

Speak about how you are feeling

Many people find it helps to talk to their family or friends about their worries and concerns. It’s important to let other people know how you’re feeling. Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through could help you to feel more supported and understood.  You can speak to others going through similar experiences on our online community, through our one-to-one support service, or in a support group.

If you’d prefer to talk to someone you don’t know, you could contact an organisation like Anxiety UK or Mind. Cancer Support UK also provide practical and emotional support to people living with cancer.

If you have worries and questions about your prostate cancer, you can contact our Specialist Nurses. We’re here to support you. 

I journal my feelings and reflections and have recently joined a men's counselling group to share and support each other mentally.

Get enough sleep

Sleep plays a big role in mental health, mood and wellbeing. Stress and anxiety can cause sleep problems, but there are things you can do to help. These include:

  • taking some time before bed to read or meditate
  • trying breathing exercises
  • keeping a good sleep routine – going to bed and getting up at around the same time each day
  • listening to relaxing music or an audiobook
  • avoiding drinking too much alcohol
  • not using electronic devices, such as your smartphone or computer before going to bed
  • avoiding caffeine or large meals late in the day.

Some side effects of treatment can affect your sleep. If you are experiencing hot flushes at night you may want to try wearing cooler cotton pyjamas, and a thin cotton sheet between you and your duvet. This can help you to adapt quickly at night and get a better night’s sleep.

You, and those close to you, may notice changes in your mood. Poor sleep can cause you to feel irritable, angry and frustrated. Problems sleeping may also be a symptom of depression. These feelings may become overwhelming, and you may start to feel hopeless. Talking about these feelings and getting the right support can help you cope with anxiety and depression.

Speak to your GP if you’re finding it difficult to sleep. You can also speak to our Specialist Nurses. You can also visit The Sleep Charity for more sleep support and information.

I had a worrying night feeling sorry for myself, but after a chat I felt so reassured.

Stay active

Physical activity can help to reduce stress and manage symptoms of anxiety. Stress and anxiety can negatively affect the way you think and feel about yourself, your circumstance, and your relationships.

Staying active can help:

  • relieve built up tension or stress
  • clear your mind and help you to take a mental break
  • manage symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • boost your overall mood.

Want to find out more about how staying active can help you stay physically and mentally healthy? Read our information on physical wellbeing.

Staying active doesn’t mean running miles. For tips on how to get active, read our information on physical activity for men with prostate cancer.

Take care of you – find ways to relax

Dealing with a prostate cancer diagnosis can be challenging. You may also have added stress and worry about work or family. When you become stressed, the muscles in your body can also become tight. So it’s important to find ways to manage this stress, to help you feel less anxious and to help relax your mind and your body.

Relaxation techniques

There are many relaxation techniques you can use to calm your mind, help you focus and reduce the tension in your body. Here are some techniques you could try.

Meditation. There are many different types of meditation, so you may want to try out a couple of techniques to find one that works for you. Meditation involves working with your mind, learning to observe your thoughts and feelings and to understand them better. To find out more about meditation, including a popular type of meditation called guided imagery, visit the Headspace website. You can also download free guided meditations from the Insight Timer App. For information about mindfulness, which is another popular type of meditation, visit the Mind charity website.

Breathing techniques. These are exercises that can help to slow down and control your breathing, which can help to relieve stress and manage anxiety. To find out more about breathing exercises, visit the Headspace website. You can also visit the NHS website to try a breathing exercise for stress. If you have a medical condition that can cause breathing problems, speak to your GP before trying any relaxation techniques.

For more ways to manage your emotional and mental wellbeing, visit Every Mind Matters. Every Mind Matters offers free, personalised tips and resources designed to help people take steps to improve their mental health and support others. Penny Brohn UK also support people to live well with cancer. They offer online help, self-care sessions, counselling and meditation.

Focus on what you can control

Feeling like you have lost control of your life because of your prostate cancer is common. You may feel like you have lost control over your health, body, independence or your future.

Changes or disruptions to your daily routine may also make you feel less in control. This can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. It may also affect your sense of identity, particularly if you’ve stopped going to work because of your prostate cancer.

It’s important to keep up a routine where possible and set up new ones if needed. Having a routine can help you feel more in control and take away some of the uncertainty in your day-to-day life. Take your time to find a routine that works for you – there’s no right way to spend your time.

Information given during your appointments can be overwhelming. If you’re worried or anxious about your appointments, you may forget what you’d planned to talk about. Plan what you want to ask your doctor or nurse and write it down as a reminder. If can also help to write notes during your appointment, in case you forget what they say.

You can also ask to record the appointment using your phone or another recording device. But make sure you let the doctor or nurse know if and why you are recording them, as not everyone is comfortable being recorded.

 

Updated January 2019 | To be reviewed January 2021