Lifestyle and well being

Eat well and keep to a healthy weight

A well-balanced diet should include:

  • plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – aim to eat at least five portions a day 
  • foods high in fibre, such as beans and cereals 
  • plenty of water or other non-alcoholic drinks. 

You should also try to reduce your intake of:

  • red meat and animal fats 
  • alcohol 
  • salted, pickled and smoked foods. 

Stop smoking

If you smoke, speak to your doctor or call a stop-smoking helpline for further advice. They can tell you where your local stop-smoking service is.

Reduce stress

There are different ways of reducing stress, and they will vary from person to person. Some people find it relaxing to meditate or pray, or you might decide to take up a new hobby. Or you could try a complementary therapy, such as aromatherapy or reflexology.

Some people find it helpful to talk about their feelings or have contact with other people who have been through a similar experience. Others find it helpful to write a journal or online blog.

Get physically active

Physical activity can improve your sense of well-being and help build up your energy levels. It reduces the risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and bone thinning (osteoporosis). Physical activity doesn’t have to be very strenuous. You can start gently and build up the amount you do.

Get involved in your healthcare

This includes taking your medicines as prescribed and always going to your hospital appointments. If you have any problems or notice any new symptoms between your appointments that don’t go away within a couple of weeks, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

Understanding more about CLL and its treatment can also help you cope. It means you can discuss treatment, tests and check-ups with your doctors and nurses, and be involved in making decisions. This can make you feel more confident and give you back a feeling of control.

Self-help and support groups

Talking about your feelings can help reduce stress, anxiety and isolation. There are lots of different ways to communicate, and they can all help people feel less alone. We’ve suggested some of them below.

Self-help or support groups offer a chance to talk to other people who may be in a similar situation and facing the same challenges as you. Joining a group can be helpful if you live alone or don’t feel able to talk about your feelings with the people around you. Not everyone finds it easy to talk in a group, so it might not be for you. Try going along to see what the group is like before you decide.

Online support

Many people now get support on the internet. There are online support groups, social networking sites, forums, chat rooms and blogs for people affected by leukaemia. You can use these to ask questions and share your experience.

Our online community is a social networking site where you can talk to people in our chat rooms, blog about your journey, make friends and join support groups. Visit Macmillan's Online Community.

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