Thursday, February 19, 2009
What to do to shake off a Cancer Funk
Here is a top ten list of things I do when cancer, and all it's baggage (fears, pains, grief) get me down. I do them, even if I don't feel like doing them, and it turns me around. It may not make the pain go away, but it always keep depression from settling in:
1) Tell someone, honestly, how I am feeling. For me, it is easy to just tell surface answers. I don't want to freak people out or overwhelm them. I am always honest, but I will redirect if I don't want to share the details. So when I feel fears haunting me and bringing depressive feelings into the room, I call a trusted friend, and tell them the darkest thoughts I am having. (ie, I am scared it is coming back!, or, I am such a drain on my family and that makes me feel so ashamed). Just saying these things out loud to someone who can do "compassionate listening" (meaning, no advice, per se, just compassion and belief that you can overcome), seems to make them disappear. It is equivalent to being 5, and fearing the boogie man in the closest...once confronted, you discover he isn't really there. It is so easy to let fear replace reality....isn't it.
2) Pick Up a Book from my Healing Pile:
I have a stash of book that I can open to any page, and get tidbits that just remind me that there is hope, there is healing, there is the truth of you and that can never be changed. Some are practical cancer advise, some are universal Spiritual truth that can help shake of the negativity building. Examples:
- Crazy, Sexy, Cancer
- Whole Life Nutrition (yes, a cookbook.. believe it or not)
- That Which You are Seeking is Causing you to Seek (Cheri Huber)
- Peace in Every Step (Thich Nat Han)
3) Pick up a meditation or hypnotherapy CD
- See that sidebar? She is a great one for cancer
- my hypnotherapist made me a CD and gave me exercises. (I will sidebar a list of Seattle based practioners.)
- I have several meditation CD's that are general ones. Look for Jack Kornfield or Jon Kabat Zin.
4) I open the door and step outside.
Simple. Very, very simple. For those of you who have never been in a chronic illness/pain situation, it can slowly and subtly box you in your house and on your couch. Today, when I woke up and headed to my living room to do Qi Gong, my cat ran straight to the couch and laid down. That was a bad sign to me. He associates me with the couch. So yes, when you feel so tired you can't do much of anything, do not much of anything sitting on your front porch. It is guarenteed to turn things around. But you have to go out there with no agenda. Don't try to "get anything done'", including TRYING to feel better. Just be as you are, on the porch, breathing fresh air and listening to the breeze.
5) Eat something filled with energy.
I know you might be too tired to cook. You may not even be able to see your countertop because you are too tired to do the dishes. But always keep on hand a food or two that is guaranteed to raise your energy. For me it is oranges. The smell, oh so refreshing. I can be tempting to eat a comfort food, but notice how you feel afterwards. Probably more sluggish. Go for fresh, light and simple. Even lightly steamed, but plain. If I have energy, I made a Green Smoothie from the cookbook on the sidebar.
6) Watch or listen to a spiritual teacher.
When I am feeling blue, it is sometimes hard to feel "worthy" of listening to spiritual teachers. I get feeling ashamed. I KNOW I am not the only cancer patient to feel ashamed of feeling sick. So that is why I share that bit of info. So, I override my shame and listen to my spiritual mentors teacher, on tape. Even if I don't retain it, I just let the words of wisdom fill the air and push out my inner critics words. Find your own. Hay House radio is online and a great place to tune it. I also jump online and listen to Kathianne Lewis at the Center for Spiritual Living. They have online podcasts and video. Click on the picture for the link to video.
7) Take a bath.
So, you have all the toxins built up in your system. You have chemo, you have the bi-product of dead cancer cells, you have STUFF that needs to go. Override you need to hide under the covers, or have your caretaker draw you a bath, drop some baking soda (a couple tablespoons) and some salts into a bath. Those will help draw out the toxins and get the lymph system moving again. It is amazing what a congested lymph system will do to your feeling of wellbeing. So get it moving.
8) Cuddle with a pet.
Those cuddly friends of our can do wonders. Yesterday, I was next to my bed, on the floor, crying. The hormones from the Femara were taking me for a ride, I had sweats, then cold, then sweats, I had just woken up and my bones and muscles were stiff and painful. And I was recovering from the flu. My body was just TOO noisy and I was on "incoming information overload". I could pick myself up. But my cat came in and curled right up over my aching collar bones and purrrrrrred. She wanted nothing from me. She wasn't stressed out from taking care of me. I swear, she just wanted to comfort me. And you know what, it worked. It got me up off the floor and moving.
9) Can't get moving? Laid up from chemo or pain? Watch something funny or inspiring.
So, YOU are being overun with hormones and neurochemicals that are "pain pain pain". Let someone else do the work of releasing "heal heal heal". Know the movies that make you laugh, or give you hope. I like to watch "You can Heal your Life" by Louise Hay. She had cancer, and she healed. Amazing movie when you just can't get there yourself. Let someone else who has been there and done that remind you that you can too.
10) I don't have a ten, but to tell you that today might be hard, but just get moving. Depression and the blues feed off of stagnate energy. Just move. Even if all you can do is lay in bed and tighten and release a set of muscles at a time. Just move energy. I have complete faith that even if you are in pain, or in a chemo stupor, that YOU are still in there, and there is lightness, even if you are standing in the shadows at the moment. Just a reminder.