Cancer is a challenging disease to combat. Now with a rampant virus spreading across the UK, people with lowered immune systems are asked to stay safe at home. How is one cancer survivor making the most of it?
Fabian Bolin is a 32-year-old cancer survivor who is undertaking the government’s shielding measures seriously.
He admitted: “I think isolation can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health.”
Reflecting on his own experience with isolation – during his cancer treatment – he commented: “The deterioration of your mental health occurs slowly from day to day, and then one day you realise you’re not very happy anymore.”
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But Fabian’s found an outlet that works for him – writing a blog. It helps him to connect to other people.
“As human beings, we are genetically coded to be around our peers and in social groups,” he attested.
Fabian encourages others experiencing shielding measures to “try and engage in physical exercise”.
He added: “Movement, almost instantly, can start to activate happiness in your brain, so it’s always good to work some into your day.
“Consider meditation and yoga or a type of mindfulness practice that suits you.
“It can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it’s an activity that helps you to escape overthinking and enables you to control your own thoughts.”
Having experienced dark days himself, he admitted: “Our minds can get out of control when we are cooped up inside, and we may find ourselves constantly worrying or over analysing.
“Training our brain through mindfulness is a good way of preparing for that.”
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He also stressed the importance of “making an effort for yourself”.
Specifically, he mentioned dressing up, setting an office area and “building a routine”.
He said: “You need to get more into the mode of ‘I’m doing something for myself’ to avoid creating stress for yourself.”
“It’s important to maintain a sense of normality,” he added.
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A strong advocate for putting pen to paper, Fabian said: “While I don’t expect that everyone will be suited to writing a blog, I think that everyone can benefit from writing for themselves in order to collect their thoughts.”
Explaining his method, he said: “When you’re isolated and not getting up to much, it’s important to focus on writing about what you’ve felt and thought of, rather than what you’ve been up to.
“I think this is something everyone should do, as it’s an effective way of processing emotions.”
It’s what has given Fabian the gusto to keep strong during the 12-week isolation period he’s currently facing.
He concluded: “Pick up your phone, call someone, and have a conversation.
“Speaking to someone is important in terms of feeling a sense of closeness with other people.”
Hoping to help other cancer patients and survivors during this pandemic, Fabian has created an online app called War On Cancer.
It’s a place where people can share their stories and connect with one another.
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