Back in April, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. To say the least, it was quite a shock. When my parents told me I almost felt like laughing. I mean, what had my family done to deserve this? Is this a joke? I was overrun with thoughts of disbelief. Usually, when you hear about cancer, you never think it'll happen to someone you love. Until it does.

It was hard for me to come to terms with the news. Every time I looked up tips on how to handle it, I only found resources that mentioned how to make the afflicted person feel better. They never mentioned how to make the surrounding parties manage their feelings. Not to sound selfish, but I felt neglected. It seemed like I had to deal with the situation on my own. After awhile, though, I learned how to deal with it and my life got a lot better. So, for anyone who might be affected by cancer in any way, here is my list of five activities to help you get through it.

1. Have a Big Ol' Cry Fest

water, wine
Robin Chohan

I know that multiple sources claim catharsis isn't real or doesn't help. That's not what I'm suggesting you do. The difference between catharsis-driven crying and having a "big ol' cry fest" is that the latter truly helps. It took me exactly three weeks to cry after hearing about my mom's diagnosis. Why? Because I refused to believe it. No way could my mom have breast cancer. It. Wasn't. Real. 

I denied it to myself over and over. Until, one night, I just sort of broke down and started crying. And it felt good. I was finally able to let out three weeks worth of pent up frustration and sadness. By not having at least one big cry, you're most likely bottling up your emotions. Trust me, pretending that the whole situation isn't happening only makes it worse. So, I just recommend having a slobbery, icky sob session, slapping yourself in the face (not literally), and telling yourself that it's real. In order to conquer this mountain of crappy luck, you have to accept it first.

2. Watch Mindless Movies

fried rice, vegetable, porridge, rice, corn, cereal
Rachel Livengood

Watching comedies is the best way to lift your spirits instantly. Sometimes, just laughing at a movie's silly one-liners is indeed the best medicine. A few of my favorite comedies are Trading Places, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Superbad. When picking out a movie, I would stay away from comedy-dramas (such as About a Boy) because they're still a bit dark and can put a damper on your mood. 

3. Talk to Someone

water, beer, wine
Madi Johnson

I have never really been the type of person to be open about my feelings. For some crazy reason, I feel like I'm burdening someone by confiding in them about my problems. If that sounds similar to what you do, I urge you to stop. The truth is, a good friend will always be willing to listen to you vent or provide you comfort. It's just up to you to initiate the conversation.

If you're still uncomfortable with talking about such a personal problem with a friend, you can always hire a therapist. Or, if a therapist is not in your budget, you can call the Cancer Community Support's helpline. Their number is 1-888-793-9355, and they're open from 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. ET every Monday through Friday.

4. Write About It

pasture, vegetable
Daniela Doncel

You don't have to be the next Jack Kerouac or Truman Capote to write. Many times, scribbling down your thoughts and feelings in a journal is a great way to improve your mental health. Let me say this again: journaling doesn't have to be poetic. You can simply write "I hate cancer" 100 times over- Bart Simpson style- and close the journal.

Also, to anyone who says journaling is just for girls: you can, frankly, shut up. "Real men" can journal as much as they please. Don't let a fear of being viewed as less masculine stop you from being emotionally stable.

5. Sweat it Out

fitness, water, Sneakers, hydration, hydrate, gym, Work Out, exercise, music, motivation, working out, Exercising
Denise Uy

Nothing is quite as satisfying as finishing a grueling workout. The best way to leash out in a positive way is to exercise. If you're feeling particularly angry, do some kickboxing and pretend that cancer is your punching bag. 

If you're not the type of person who likes exercise, even just going for a short walk can help clear your head. You can also opt to not even leave your house and instead just do some simple stretching or yoga. Anything is better than nothing.

That concludes my list of the top five tips to help you cope when someone you love has cancer. I'm not going to lie-- it truly sucks at first. But I promise it does get better, as cheesy as that sounds. Like at any other point in your life, you'll have good days and you'll have bad days. However, it's up to you to take control of your emotions and decide which type of day you'll have more of.