In life there are no crystal balls. For those diagnosed with cancer or metastatic disease the process is ongoing. Although this is not an easy road to travel, it can be managed. Taking control of your life and learning to manage stress and anxiety is a big part of the equation and it is different for each one of us.
The first step is awareness and then knowing that we have choices on how we show up on a daily basis.
Stress and anxiety are normal experiences when undergoing treatment and managing your life throughout your cancer experience. The key is managing stress. Studies point to stress affecting our immune systems, so we have to learn how to care for ourselves.
Stress might be triggered by treatments, uncertainty around what the future looks like, financial issues, feeling isolated, relationships with your spouse, children or colleagues, around getting the support that you need, communication, simply feeling overwhelmed at all that you are facing that is new, and so many other factors.
Several ways that you can create awareness around stress and anxiety are:
Knowing what triggers you – making decisions around treatments, side effects of treatments, upcoming scans and tests, news articles, being asked about your health, seeing a friend ill or and situations unrelated to cancer can all trigger stress.
Noticing the feelings in your body – some people experience tightness in their chest, throat, abdomen or other areas of their bodies. These are signals that your body sends when you are experiencing fear.
How can you exercise self-love during times of stress?
Take a step back for a nap or to rest;
Tap into your spiritual side, which could mean taking a walk in nature or praying;
Try to get adequate sleep by sticking to a schedule;
Take medications as prescribed;
Remember that everyone is different and that everyone experiences things in their own way;
Spend time with people that you feel connected to and love and make you feel good;
Stay focused on the present. Don’t get lost in the past or running too far in the future;
Listen to music, read a book or think of other activities to shift your energy in the moment;
Practice relaxation techniques that work for you;
Think about using your experience to volunteer or support others.
Other ways to increase your energy in times of stress could be:
Stepping into your creativity, whether that means painting, crafting, drawing, going to the theatre or just reading a book;
Engaging in laughter;
Connecting with your pets;
Join a support group or seek professional help in the form of therapy, counselling or coaching.
Transition will occur when you acknowledge and accept where you are and trust the process.
What are you learning about yourself during this time?
What strengths have you used in the past that you could anchor yourself into at this time?
Look back at your accomplishments and use them to carry yourself forward.
If you need help managing stress and anxiety, reach out to me for a complimentary coaching session by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to see how the benefits of coaching can help you create the change in your life that you are looking for in this moment.
Reprinted with permission of Gina Costa-Goldfarb.