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By Emma Attenborough-Sergeant Wellness Expert at GoVida - The Employee Wellbeing Platform

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But what’s that got to do with a wellbeing platform?

Our mental health and wellbeing doesn’t exist in isolation; everything we go through in our day-to-day lives, the challenges we face, and the illnesses we battle has an impact on our state of mind. You might have health anxiety, and feel extremely triggered when awareness days come around; you may have lost family or friends to cancer and feel understandably affected at this time of year; or you might be coming to terms with your own diagnosis. It’s important to know that you’re not alone.

Nearly one in every four people who are diagnosed with breast cancer experience depression, and whether you’re going through it yourself, or you know someone who is, knowledge is power.

The impact of breast cancer on mental health

Diagnosis is a shock, and a frightening one at that. As well as depression, people who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to experience:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Fatigue
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Mood swings
  • Memory loss

It’s a scary time, and it can be difficult to take care of yourself when you’re going through so much – but as with anything, looking after your mental health and prioritising your wellbeing after a diagnosis can significantly improve your quality of life.

If someone around you is struggling with any of the following, encourage them to consider speaking to a mental health professional, or using a mental health support service:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in overall mood
  • Falling asleep or staying asleep
  • A very low mood
  • Constant stress or anxiety
  • A lack of interest in or enjoyment of things they used to take pleasure in
  • Notable changes in appetite
  • Using drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism
  • Trouble getting out of bed (unrelated to cancer treatment)

If it’s you who’s suffering? Remember that you are still YOU, and deserve to take care of yourself. It’s also important to keep in mind that you don’t need a mental health diagnosis to access mental health support; our mental health is a sliding scale, and we can need help without having a mental illness. In fact, seeking support in the early stages can help to prevent mental health conditions from developing or worsening.

The impact that a breast cancer diagnosis will have on a person’s mental health and wellbeing is actually influenced by quite a few factors, meaning that some people will be more heavily impacted from a mental health perspective than others. These include:

  • Previous mental illness
  • A lack of support from family and friends
  • Lower income
  • A lack of access to higher education
  • Receiving a diagnosis at a young age
  • A previous trauma

Preventing breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, affecting one in nine women, and one in 1,000 men. But did you know that at least 30% of all breast cancers are preventable? You can’t change your genetics, breast density or age, but there are factors within your control – and a focus on these same factors will also have a really positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing:

  • A balanced diet
  • A healthy lifestyle
  • Decent activity levels

Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Breast Cancer UK is shining a light on some of the different ways that you can get active – because the more active you are, the lower your risk of developing breast cancer.

There’ll be a daily pilates movement challenge, a Halloween family yoga workshop, a step challenge, and even something for the golfers. This is something we feel incredibly passionate about at GoVida: our wellbeing platform encourages people to take part in individual and team challenges to boost their fitness and support their mental health and wellbeing.

We know that exercise isn’t a cure-all, and it isn’t always easy – especially when you’re going through challenging times. But it brings us together, gives us a sense of hope, and allows us to feel pride in ourselves; because whatever we’re going through, however dark the times, we are always worth it.

Get active, reduce your risk, and find out how you can get involved this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And if you want to learn how GoVida’s employee wellbeing platform can support fitness, wellbeing, and mental health, get in touch for a free demo.

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