It can feel like your plans have been put on hold when you receive a leukemia diagnosis. Suddenly, your focus is on getting well.

“It is important to remember that mental health is a crucial part of your overall health and well-being. It doesn’t have to change everything about your life if you have cancer.”

Taking time for yourself to relax and de-stress is a valuable part of your recovery.

Here are nine tips to help you manage chronic leukemia and keep it from disrupting your daily routine.

Getting a cancer diagnosis is important. That is not always true when you have CLL.

This condition is not a condition that needs to be treated immediately. Doctors will use a watch and wait approach. The watch part is important. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms when you have blood tests. Some people will not need treatment.

If you’re nervous about the wait, talk about it with your medical team. But try not to panic — research shows there are no risks to waiting to start treatment.

“It can be difficult to manage everything else in your life while you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Don’t try to do everything on your own.”

People will want to help. Some will jump in, but others will wait for you to make the request. You can ask people to do tasks that deplete your energy.

It is hard to think about exercising when you are tired from CLL treatments. Staying active helps reduce fatigue. It can help with cancer symptoms.

“There is no single exercise program that is best for CLL. Do what makes you happy. If you don’t feel well, stop exercising and drink some water.”

“It is good to stay active, but you don’t want to wear yourself out. Balance activity with rest. Set aside time for a nap. You should put aside non essential tasks until you feel confident doing them.”

Listen to your body. Stop and take a break when it feels tired.

You may be dealing with this disease for a while. CLL is a chronic illness that is rarely treated. It is manageable. Follow the treatment your doctor prescribes to stay healthy and you should be able to live a full and fulfilling life.

“Don’t let cancer take over your world. You should keep doing the things you enjoy. Set aside time to be with people you care about the most.”

You will have some side effects once you start treatment. Chemotherapy can cause a lot of problems. Some people have mild side effects, while others have more severe ones.

Other treatment options are available, such as targeted agents, and you may experience side effects from those treatments too.

Let your doctor know if you notice any side effects. Treatments can help manage them. Side effects should go away after you finish treatment.

CLL treatments can cause nausea and other symptoms that ruin your appetite. It is important to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water to keep your strength and prevent weight loss. A meal plan that tastes good to you can be created by your doctor or a nutrition expert.

You may need to avoid some foods. CLL puts you at a higher risk of infections because of the harmful bacteria in raw foods.

“CLL damages the white blood cells that help fight off germs, so it increases your risk of getting an infection. You don’t have to live in a bubble, but you should take precautions to prevent getting sick.”

One of the best ways to avoid infections is to wash your hands frequently. Warm water and soap are good for hand hygiene.

All of your immunizations, including the pneumonia vaccine and the annual flu shot, should be obtained. Your doctor will tell you if you need any more vaccines.

You may feel alone with everything going on. You are not. Discuss any worries you have with your friends and family. You can see a psychologist or counselor for help with your problems.

Another place to find help is at a CLL support group. Joining a support group will let you connect with others who really get it. You may be able to find a group through your local hospital or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

CLL can take over any part of your life. Taking time to care for yourself and following the treatment your doctor prescribed is how it affects you. You can live a full life with CLL if you eat right, exercise and get support when you need it.