Refueling After A Cancer Burnout

I love sharing wins and reminding cancer fighters what’s possible…. but a few weeks ago, I found myself totally burnt out. That’s right, the same guy coaching other cancer fighters on the importance of prioritizing health and wellness.

I realized that while adding more to my plate this year, it’s gotten easier for me to lose sight of my own wellness.

It started with a few nights of less sleep here and there; putting off meditation for another day. Exercise sounded great but there were other priorities that screamed louder. Then, lunch came around and it felt easier to grab a bar than sit for a more nutritious meal.

Not surprisingly, my energy began to shift. I started getting caught up in more negativity and my overall mood tanked. And since health is supposed to be my top priority, it was pretty unnerving to catch myself slipping.

So I made a conscious effort to make adjustments and wanted to share with you what helped me get me back to baseline.

Here were my 3 areas of focus:

1) Positive Self-talk – Our thoughts affect our feelings, which affect our actions, so I’m a big believer in positive affirmations and using the benefits of self-talk to my advantage. Taking charge of my inner dialogue was a powerful tool during my darkest days of cancer; it helped me consistently generate the thoughts and mindset needed for me to sustain belief that healing was not only possible but probable and eventually inevitable.

2) Feel Good Activities – Why is it that when stress builds up, I forget how much I love music? It’s like how there never seems to be time for meditation when you’re busy (but that’s exactly when you need it most).

By now, I’ve learned that my instincts don’t always serve me when I’m stressed or overextended. Not only do I become more reactive, but I get caught up in narratives like if I just keep taking on more, I’ll feel better! (Doesn’t work like that.)

This time, I threw on my headphones instead and searched around Spotify for new music. Then I broke out the guitar and jammed around. I felt a million times better afterwards.

Over the rest of the weekend, I embraced my laziest self with my wife, Kori, and we vegged out on the couch catching up on TV — everything from ‘The Morning Show’ (is that show good or not? Can’t seem to decide), to ‘The Super Model’ documentary series on Apple TV (watching fashion docs with Kori is fun because she gets so passionate and it’s infectious). We finished that off with a combo of sports and mindless reality TV.

It felt so nice just getting out of my head for a while, and to give my nervous system a much needed rest. My oura ring agreed – happily encouraging my “restorative state”.

3) Safe, Supportive People – When I’m feeling worn out and vulnerable, I try to shield my space as much as possible. I take a break from scrolling on my phone and social media — don’t need the comparison game energy, or running into scary stories and anxiety producing news.

Instead, Kori and I got in quality time together. I also caught up with some friends, and checked in on family. Hearing about other’s lives rebalanced me and was a great reminder of how blessed I am to have such awesome people in my world.

It didn’t take long before I started feeling more like myself again. And rather then feeling the need to act perfectly all the time, I find it reassuring to know there are tools and strategies we can lean on to get back on track.

Fighting cancer and rebuilding life after cancer are both marathons in themselves. You can feel pressure to produce results as there’s so much at stake. And without seeing continuous progress, it’s especially easy for the doubts, fear and uncertainty to creep in and take over.

Having the right systems and support in place can make all the difference.

For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.

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