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Being diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia or Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma can be a shock. You are bound to have lots of emotions which can sometimes be difficult to understand.

These are some of the ways that we can help:

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Looking after your mental health

Tips from a mental health counsellor

The current lockdown situation for CLL patients and the gradual easing of the lockdown has brought anxiety to many. This is an amazingly simple 7-stage set of suggestions that may help. They are undemanding but can show real results. STAND, Pop your bubble and Laugh!

  1. Shower and stretch your muscles
    Get showered and dress in comfortable clothes, brush your teeth. Put on bright colours if you have them, and a favourite perfume/after shave or item of clothing or jewellery. It’s amazing how dress affects our mood. Then stretch your muscles. This may be exercise, or something simpler and gentler – anything that releases the tension in your muscles will help your circulation, detoxify you and energise you. Google ‘progressive muscle relaxation’ and find an exercise that suits you – and do it daily.
  2. Take your medication
    Because of the lockdown, you may be experiencing small or big changes in your daily routine which makes it easier to forget your medications. If you are on medication of any sort, or even just daily vitamins, this should be an absolute priority at this time. Make a new rule so you don’t forget. It’s also crucial that you don’t take more than the dose recommended or prescribed by your doctor. It’s important especially right now not to use alcohol or other substances to try to cope.
  3. Accept yourself and others
    Lower your expectations of yourself and those around you. None of us are at our best right now. Accept yourself without question or blame during these hard times. You cannot fail at lockdown – there is no roadmap, we are doing the bet we can in incredibly challenging times. Focus on getting through one hour and one day at a time.
  4. Nestle
    A safe space from others and to ourselves is essential for our emotional wellbeing – especially when we may not be getting the physical and psychological space we normally have. This is just as important if you are living alone. Find somewhere in your home where you can retreat to. Make it cosy with cushions and blankets. If there are others in your household, ask not to be disturbed and spend at least 20 minutes a day here. Be mindfully present to sound, perhaps bird calls; a sensory feeling; something you see, perhaps a favourite object.
  5. Drink in water, daylight, and fresh air
    Even if it’s just two pints of water a day, 20 minutes outside in daylight or sitting by a bright window, this is a fast way to lift your mood and spirit.
  6. Pop your bubble
    Reach out to someone outside your home every day using any way of contacting – telephone, text, email, video call. And if you find yourself in crisis, there are many helplines out there with people to talk to. The CLL Support helpline is always available on 0800 977 4396.
  7. Laugh
    There may not seem much to laugh at right now but try to give yourself permission to have a laugh or a little fun each day. It may be playing online games with your friends and family, or watching funny clips on YouTube, or a favourite comedy series or film. Laughter is a powerful antidote to the seriousness of the world right now.

We know that these simple tips may not suit everyone, but they have been shown to work and to help people get through difficult times. Give them a try. You might be surprised by the results!

We know that these simple tips may not suit everyone, but they have been shown to work and to help people get through difficult times. Give them a try. You might be surprised by the results!