” It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.”Hans Selye
Scanxiety, or any stress actually, can be very overwhelming. It makes you feel like you have lost control. To say I’ve got stress under control would be a complete lie. Some days my head goes at a million miles per hour and I just want to press pause to make all the thoughts stop. I’m not sure if Tamoxifen has made things worse for me. Personally, I believe it messes with my head a lot. I’ve always been someone that stresses, but there’s something different about the “noise” in my head these days. The 5 things I listed below have helped me reduce stress – most days anyway.
The Power of Music
Music is extremely therapeutic. I think hospitals should start playing music in every room, though that may be hard because we all like different music. So maybe stick with your own Spotify list and headphones. Make sure you don’t get stuck in your “let me cry” playlist though- use it to release all the tears and stress but then shift to the playlist that empowers you. Let music help you!
The Exercise High
Exercise can feel like a burden some days and you may have to push yourself to get started. Try to remind yourself of the feel good moment you get after a workout. You will always feel great after exercising. Some days it may be a gentle walk or yoga that will help, and other days you may want to run or do HIIT and release the stress. Do what works for you each day.
The Magic of the Breath
Stop and breathe when life gets hard and see what happens. I’m experimenting with Dr Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing technique. First, you exhale completely from your mouth, then inhale quietly through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7 and then exhale through your mouth making a whoosh sound for a count of 8. This is meant to be done for four cycles, twice a day. Also repetition is key, it’s not a one time fix, the benefits are seen with time. Combine this with meditation or prayer as well if you can!
The Support Crew
In life, there are always some people who drain you, and others who uplift you. When you are stressed, try to completely avoid the ones that drain you, and spend more time with the people that make you feel happy. Find your support crew – your tribe – and let them help you through it. And make sure you do the same for them when they need it. I’m SO thankful for my support crew!
The Imaginary Glasses
Visualisation or positive imagery – I’ve recently heard about this and love it. Pretend you have a pair of super cool glasses on and they make you see things in a calm, positive way. Imagine your scan being clear, your body beating a disease, your life going exactly as you dream. By truly imagining a positive scene using all your senses, your brain believes you are really experiencing it and you start to see the calming effects on both your body and mind.
There will still be some days where stress just wins. You won’t be able to control it. If the trigger is constantly there, and you can’t seem to find relief, reach out to a professional to help you through it. Also, there is nothing wrong with using prescription medication to get you through a tough time in your life. Try not to rely on them to make every single situation better, but sometimes we need a little help to push us through. Unfortunately, stress is a part of our everyday lives, so the sooner we find out how to control it, the happier we will be.
What are some things that help you with stress? Let me know, I’d be happy to try something new!