Five Free Stress Relievers
Last updated: February 2020
A cancer diagnosis brings with it a lot of stress. If we let it, the fear and worry can take a very real toll on our health, just when we need our strength the most. I am the queen of running away from unpleasant thoughts, so I thought I would share some of my common stress relievers.
Listen to a book
I recently joined my local library. If you haven't been to the library recently, go!! I was a frequent patron of our library when I was a kid, but quit going as an adult. I recently returned. Did you know that you can rent books, audiobooks, movies, and music from the library, often from the comfort of your own home?
Chemo brain prevents me from getting the enjoyment I once got from reading a good book, but I have discovered audiobooks! Wow! I can spend hours lost in the world of fantasy with a rented audiobook and a pair of $30 earphones.
Watch a movie
I have never been a big movie goer. They cost too much for my budget. But, recently I have begun watching movies that I borrow from the library on my tablet. Those same $30 earphones I use for audiobooks help transport me to movieland. I personally like drama, but think what a good comedy that brings belly laughs might do for your spirits!
Play a game
I have never been one to play many electronic games, but I started playing one called Township several months ago. The electronic game connects me to an online community of friends from around the world and exercises my brain, but takes no physical energy.
I had just discovered the game when I learned that my cancer was growing again after being completely stable for four years. During the couple of weeks I spent trying to decide my next course of action, I immersed myself in my game. It allowed me to subconsciously think about my health while consciously avoiding the subject altogether.
When I was too fatigued to do much at all after the radiation treatments I decided on to treat the growing tumor, I spent untold hours playing my game, er, games. Yep, while I was recuperating, I went from playing a single game to keeping up with three! The games offered a great mental diversion while I was regaining my physical strength.
You don't have to completely bury yourself in a game like I did. Quick games like Solitaire or Freecell can provide valuable mental diversions from cancer and all of its related aches, pains, worries, and stresses.
Talk to friends
Grab the phone and reach out to a friend. Call someone you haven't chatted with for a while. See if you can keep the conversation on them and what they're up to rather than discussing every aspect of your cancer journey. In other words, focus on something besides cancer for a little while.
On the other hand, especially if you are newly diagnosed, it might do you a world of good to tell a good friend exactly what's going on with you and your treatments. The important thing is to avoid isolating yourself from friends. I personally prefer not to talk much about cancer and to focus on other, more interesting topics.
Get some exercise
There are some studies that suggest exercise helps us fight our cancer. Even before I was aware of that, I made myself get up just about every morning, even during the worst of chemo, to walk my dogs. At first, we couldn't walk three miles like we did before I started treatments, but we could walk three the length of three houses and then three blocks. We ultimately extended that distance and there were many days when we could walk miles instead of blocks again.
Exercise is good for your physical and mental well-being. Strangely, even when you are most fatigued, if you will exert yourself physically, you will feel more energized. Counter-intuitive, I know, but give it a try.
These are five easy ways to forget cancer for a little while. Give one or more a try...and then, let me know if they worked for you!
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?