Stress management is so important — any time, really, but especially so when dealing with cancer treatment or prevention. While there’s no direct proof that stress can cause cancer, it’s certainly a contributor to lowering your immunity. And a compromised immune system impacts your ability to fight off disease. Also, when we’re under prolonged stress, we tend to make poor lifestyle choices.
I have found myself under a lot of stress the past month or so. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s probably more like the past year or so… Across all facets of life, the list of stressors is many. Even some of the good stuff feels stressful because it’s just more on the plate. I have been trying desperately to get my head above water by spending more time on work and other responsibilities, but this has led to not having time to do the things that de-stress me.
Books are sitting unread. Blogs are unwritten. I’m lucky if I can practice yoga more than once or twice a week. And I don’t get to talk with people who love, support and de-stress me (as they are typically in the same boat as I am).
As for the poor lifestyle choices… for me, stress results in increased caffeine, alcohol, and sugar consumption. These all contribute to poor sleep, which contribute to increased caffeine, sugar… etc. You get the picture. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of once you’re caught in it. And, let’s face it, none of those options are providing any nutritional benefit.
I’m definitely working on trying to get my stress under control (acknowledging it’s a problem is the first step, right?). Meditation and prayer help me, as does time in silence. This quiet time might only occur in the shower and in the car, but I use that time to do some deep breathing and clear my mind. (As an introvert, this quiet time is especially important to me.) I’m trying to carve out time for friends who lift me up and have my back, and I’m actually looking into “tapping” (or EFT…Emotional Freedom Technique). While tapping might seem “quacky”, we’ve actually had presentations on this at work and I figure it’s something I can do on my own, any time, any place. (I will let you all know what I learn.)
I’m also looking into essential oils as another means of stress management. More to come on this topic, also, in future blogs.
I know many of you can relate to this topic. We live in a society where we always need to do more and more, where social media has changed how we communicate, where “stories” are more important than fact, and where even the most inane topic becomes polarizing.
As a two-time cancer survivor, I try to remind myself every day that I need to “let it go”… to just walk away from the drama. I pray for peace in my life and meditate on positive affirmations. I give it my best shot every day, not holding myself to some unattainable perfection, and I try to remember just to breathe. I truly believe my life depends on it.
IMDb: Stress (1984)