5 Things You Can Do Even if You have No Energy

Cancer treatments completely zap our energy. I get nivolumab treatments now and they do not leave me as exhausted as traditional chemo treatments did. But I remember being so tired I could barely lift one foot after another to walk to the refrigerator. Radiation treatments also took away most of my energy. I'm sure most of us have found us in this place.

So, what can you do when you're physically exhausted, but you don't want to just stare mindlessly at the television set? Here are five ideas that other cancer patients and I have found to keep us occupied and involved.

1. Read

I guess this is the number one suggestion people make when asked what they do to pass the time when they are too tired to do anything physical. The problem is that a lot of us can't concentrate long enough to read a novel any longer. If you are like me with a short attention span, try listening to audio books. I was amazed when I first tried listening to a book being read to me at how well I could concentrate on it.

I rent my audiobooks from my local library. They have a great selection, I can rent them online so that I never have to get out of the house, and I don't have to worry about returning them before their due dates!

If you do like to read and haven't lost your ability to concentrate, try subscribing to emails that alert you to inexpensive or free electronic books. I subscribe to an email service called BookBub. Every day, I get a list of books that cost under $5. Each email will include at least two or three free books. Of course, you can also rent both electronic and paper books from your library if you don't want to purchase them.

2. Go through your sock drawer

Dump the contents of a drawer into a laundry basket, take it to the couch, and leisurely sort through it. Organize and dump. I need to do a whole lot more of this! It is amazing how much junk I manage to accumulate over time.

3. Sort through old photos

If you're like I am, you have hundreds or thousands of photos...most of them not sorted at all. I have no idea how many thousands of electronic pictures I have that could definitely use some organization. I also have many hundreds (at least) of actual photographs that need to be organized and put into scrapbooks. Be sure to label them or write stories to go along with them. I have scrapbooks that belonged to my grandmother and most of the pictures have no significance to me. How I wish there were captions and, better yet, stories to tell me why the photo was important to her.

4. Journal

Try to make a daily entry in a journal about what is going on in your life. It doesn't have to be long and involved. Just a few sentences will be enough to remind you next year of where you were today. Of course, if you like to write, longer pieces would be great, too!

5. Play games on your phone or tablet

After radiation, my energy was really zapped, along with the tumor we were treating. I found great enjoyment playing an electronic game called Township. The game kept me involved and definitely kept my mind occupied! I grew so addicted that I was losing sleep to play. Once I felt more energetic, I quit playing, but the game got me through a tough time in my life.

What have you found to help during times when your energy levels keep you from doing anything physical?

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