We know that lots of Trekstock's community of young adults living with and beyond cancer are currently strictly self-isolating for the next 12 weeks during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

We've asked our community to share their tips and plans to stay positive and sane during these extraordinary times. Next up, it's Chloe.

As a Sarcoma patient who is on long-term sick leave, I would like to think that I am now a professional in the subtle art of staying sane whilst at home. This concept seems easy but to keep occupied in an unprecedented, scary, worrying, painful and isolating time in your life; it can be incredibly hard. Social distancing is not unfamiliar to me (or to many fighting cancer) but isolation to this magnitude, has brought a whole set of new mental and physical challenges that has taken me weeks to adapt to.

Due to COVID-19, my chemotherapy treatment was stopped. Initially, I was relieved and welcomed the break from the never-ending appointments and treatment. However, this positivity quickly wore off, and I began to feel huge levels of anxiety, feeling trapped, sadness, helplessness and guilt. I was constantly watching the news, and all my conversations were about Covid-19. I couldn’t escape it. My old friend cancer has suddenly been replaced by a new nightmare.

To pull myself out of the negative rut I was spiralling into; I stopped watching the news (I keep updated but I limited the amount I watched). This was the first thing that helped to refocus my mind and my priorities. Following this, I began writing a list of goals and tasks every night before bed ready for the next day. For me, this was the best time to reflect, unwind, unclog my brain and create a purpose for the next day. I find when my brain is feeling very “full” this triggers my negative emotions; so, I find by writing everything down, it cleanses my overcrowded brain. Once these thoughts are on paper; I can do what I choose with it. I can delete them, or I can turn them into action points for things I would like to achieve… It is my choice. Regaining control of my emotions is empowering to me and instantly makes me feel lighter about my feelings (and shows that I’m not going crazy) during this really difficult time.

A list gives me direction, purpose and variation to my day. I love to use the notes app on my phone because a) My phone is glued to my side and b) The app has a setting which you can “tick” off each completed task (this function I find highly satisfying). Some days, I would have a very busy list of things to do, but some days I would have one task, and that could be as menial as having a shower. I never put pressure on myself to complete anything on my list; if I didn’t feel like it, I would defer the task for the next day.

Whilst I am frantically writing lists at every opportunity, I’m also using this time at home to do things I wouldn’t normally do such as baking, cooking and planting (I would say “gardening” but this wouldn’t be an accurate representation of my very basic skills). I have also started yoga! As a total yoga beginner, I follow the Trekstock yoga series on YouTube. It’s reassuring, calming and really puts you in tune with your body, I would highly recommend it! Additionally, I have joined the Trekstock Renew programme which also adds a bit of structure to my day. Lastly, I have found that regardless of having no “plans”, I find getting washed and dressed is a great way to instantly enhance your mood.

These are just a few key points which have helped me to stay sane and are getting me through this very turbulent time. There will be good days and bad days whilst at home, but my biggest advice to you would be to embrace every emotion and BE KIND TO YOURSELF. One of my favourite quotes which I feel is appropriate now more than ever is; ‘You have not come this far, just to come this far’. Always reflect and congratulate yourself on getting to where you are now. This crisis is temporary, and you WILL get through this.