Stress busting for breast cancer.........
We all know that a diagnosis of primary Breast Cancer brings along with it a lot of mental and physical stress, for ourselves and our partners and families alike.
THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT WE CAN LOOK AT TO TRY AND ALLEVIATE THIS, ESPECIALLY IN THE EARLY DAYS FOLLOWING DIAGNOSIS WHEN OUR HEADS ARE SPINNING AND SO MUCH IS GOING ON.
Oftentimes stress will manifest when we carry over yesterday’s concerns into our present-day concerns. An accumulation will almost always end up in a high stress level. Therefore, we must be able to “dump” all of our concerns from the previous day or days and concentrate wholly on our today – easier said than done I know but Mindfulness can really help with this.
So here are my quick 3 stress busting tips :
Stress Busting Tip #1
Resolve right now to release every thought from yesterday and be only mindful of the now…. this thought only…this breath…this moment. Take in three very deep full breaths , in through the nose for the count of 3 and slowly release each one., feeling the body relaxing as you exhale
At the same time feel each and every concern, each and every problem, and each and every unresolved moment, begin to dissolve. You can deal with them at a later time, they will still be there. For now, you’re only to be in this very moment.
Now go to your inner quiet place. Go deep inside to a place where you feel that you’re at peace and then just relax and breathe in deeply and enjoy the feeling of being at one and at peace within yourself.
Use this special time and place to be calm. Free your mind and body of all worry, all regret, all disappointment, all anger and grief.
Stress Busting Tip #2
Next, think of one particular act, such as rocking your baby, taking a quick stroll or just simply sitting in the garden with a nice cup of tea or coffee and do that one simple thing.
Take this time for you, it might be having a quiet bath or some peaceful time with a face mask. All the while, your mind is quiet and calm and you’re in your own special place within.
For me this is just engrossing myself in a good book; taking my mind away into a different world and story altogether. Even if this is just 10 minutes it’s amazing how it can calm the nervous system – unless you’re reading a thriller that is!!
If you have a significant other then talk to them and make sure they know what you are doing and why and that you’re not to be interrupted. If you are taking yourself off for some ‘me’ time, even for just 10 minutes then there is a serious and non-negotiable “Do not disturb” sign around your neck!
Practice this act of quiet and calm each day and you’ll see that you’ll accomplish so much more and your mind will feel lighter. At the first sign of that stress creeping back in and becoming too much to cope with, go back to this mindful, quiet place and start all over again until you have reached your inner place of calm.
Stress Busting Tip #3
The very best thing that you can do for yourself is to eat, drink and rest – to your health!
Stress is easily exacerbated by not eating and drinking properly, especially during difficult times like this when we’re not thinking straight all of the time; or any of the time for that matter. Eating properly can be at the bottom of our to-do list when we have so many other things going on around us.
Limit the amount of salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol in your diet; this sounds boring I know but it will really help. I cut out fizzy drinks and couldn’t believe the difference in my energy levels and general feeling of health just after a week. I did struggle with caffeine, being a bit of a coffee junkie so I just reduced it to a healthier level.
Our bodies need clean, healthy food but it’s also important now in my opinion to make sure that we don’t feel like we are punishing ourselves by cutting out those ‘naughty but nice’ little treats, especially down the line during chemo when certain treat foods may be what helps get you through.
Drink plenty of clean, pure water each day; we’re always being told how important this is but now it’s more important than even for us to build and maintain our water intake, it will see us through treatments especially chemo.
And my advice would be to try and do at least moderate exercise each day, even if this just a walk with the dog, the kids or just on your own for some peace and quiet. This will breathe new life into your skin, hair and will nourish all of your vital organs.
When you don’t get the number of hours of sleep that you need each night, you are only setting yourself up for additional stress.
You should ideally aim for 9 hours a night; now I know this is extremely difficult but the experts are saying go to bed the same time every evening and aim for 9 hours; even if you don’t make the full time. I get about 7 before I am woken by a puppy dog in my face!!!!
And finally, take time to breathe properly! Believe it or not learning how to breathe properly can be really helpful now and later on down the line when you are having scans, cannulas or ports fitted. I remember when I started a course a few years ago and they told us we were going to learn to breathe in the first week; I thought “Is this a joke?”. I am here to tell you that I ate my words. Taking full, deep belly breathes sends pure oxygen to all of your body.
Nourishing your mind as well as your body; calming those niggly stressful thoughts that are competing for your attention.
Bonus Tip (I don’t like 4 tips; 3 is far catchier!!!!):
Laugh and then laugh some more. I know that this may sound impossible, I can almost hear you saying “Is she joking, does she not know I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer!”.
I’m not. I’ve been there and am here again so I know how hard this is, but I also know the benefit. Laughter is like super food for the soul!! Spending time doing the things that please you most is still important, just because of the diagnosis it doesn’t mean that all fun has to end. I found humour and laughter one of the most beneficial things during my treatment, after all we can’t take everything too seriously,
Engage in healthy and fulfilling relationships and work on problems that would erode the closeness that you have with someone special. This time is difficult for everyone and whilst we are going through this everyone around us is feeling the stress and pressure of this situation, I actually felt it was more difficult for my husband than for me. That may sound strange but I felt in control all the way through, my body, my choices and my ways of coping. Sadly, my husband did not fare as well as me (this is all in my story and my earlier blog).
Remember we will still have the boring everyday stresses that we had before cancer, these don’t magically disappear I’m afraid but when we are content and living a balanced life everyday stresses seem to pale in comparison. We are better equipped to deal with the unexpected.
You can take control today! Isolate only one particular stressor of your diagnosis at the moment; it may be the thought of surgery or you may be jumping ahead to side effects of chemo and losing your hair, then work on it until you regain control.
At the very least, have some new hope!
DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding any type of mental or physical issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. Remember I am writing this from a place of personal experience and knowledge.