September 16th, 2012
| Supporter: Hodgkin's Lymphoma
If you can't change a circumstance, what's your next best option? Find the opportunity in it. While that may seem challenging, the alternatives are, frankly, quite unpleasant. Cancer isn't a gift but what you make of it can be.
There is something every challenge can lead you to. I call this a "gimme." Instead of allowing cancer to cost you, find what it can give you. Two major concerns my clients commonly bring up are stress and fatigue.
1. How to Use Your Stress
Face it. Having cancer can be stressful on many levels. There is significant data on the impact stress has on the immune system, your energy levels and on quality of life. But, don’t freak out - there are ways that you can reduce your stress, and positively impact your life.
Maybe you want to get in touch with a specific side of yourself. If you pick a "genre" of stress relief, you may find the perfect solution. Go outside your comfort zone, or back into a comfort zone that you’ve since left, or into any zone that you want.
Creative: Have you always wanted to be a dancer? Go ahead, join that salsa class. Or maybe you used to love to draw - it's time to take that sketch book back out of your bottom drawer.
Playful: Think about your childhood. What was your favorite game to play? Play it with your child and share stories about your past. Let yourself laugh at something as silly as finding a good spot in hide and seek.
Physical*: It's important not to overwork your body, but don't underwork yourself either. Find a way to exercise your body in the way that's right for you - whether it's yoga, meditation, spin class, or even just walking your dog for a few extra minutes a day.
Intelligence: Are you eager to crack open a new book? Look into joining a book club, or head to the bookstore and head towards your old favorite aisle.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter – each person has to find what works for him or her. So make it something you enjoy, or make it an experiment. That’s right - give yourself permission to truly EXPERIMENT with your stress level.
Maybe you had a busy life before cancer. Many of my clients had no room for stress reduction pre-cancer, so adding it in afterwards seems like a chore. But I encourage them to use their cancer experience to hold themselves accountable to consciously reduce stress. Yes, consciously- because it takes conscious effort to reduce stress; it does not just happen on its own. Create a plan to spend a week monitoring your stress levels and incorporate at least one new tool in to generate your “gimme.” “Gimme” energy, focus, peace and ease instead of stress.
*Remember to always speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise strategies*
2. How To Spend Your Energy
You need to be hyper diligent about every bit of energy you expend. Even low physical energy has something to offer. You need to really examine where you are investing it. What thoughts, actions, relationships and situations are you choosing to put energy into? Do you get what, or more, than you give? Or are you watching your energy swirl down the drain like the water in your kitchen sink?
Just as you have a choice with how you spend your money when you go into a store, you have a choice as to how you spend your energy. By being vigilant about this, you can create a new you – someone who takes a pass on living life via “shoulds” or “have tos” but who, instead, consciously chooses where they will focus their time and energy.
The fatigue "gimme" is the opportunity to live a more focused, mindful life filled with that which reflects your core values and what you really care about.
Just imagine your life if you had less stress, less fatigue and more energy. Not just that but now you have new tools or experiences you have integrated into your life. You live more by your core values and priorities instead of obligations. You are lighter, more free and more inspired to engage in things that engage you.
Now that’s what I call a makeover.
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