If you’ve been following me on Instagram then you know my Dad’s battling cancer. I like to to vent and ask for prayers and good vibes for him, so thank you to each of you babes that DM me and send them my way. You have NOOO idea how much it uplifts me and energizes me as I deal with the highs and lows of cancer. This whole cancer experience has been a lot to deal with and I’m not the one fighting it. It’s crazy that so many people face Cancer (personally or because of a loved one), but there is no RIGHT way to deal with it. There’s no rule book or guide, but I do know time helps and heals all wounds, but how do you let time do its thing? I wanted to share how I’ve been handling that: What’s helping me find strength, both physically and emotionally, so I can help my Dad get through it too.
But, I’ll be honest, seeing my Dad battle cancer has been gut wrenching and heartbreaking. My Dad is one of my favorite people. He’s my rock, voice of reason, has given me everything I ever wanted, allowed me to chase after my dreams, supported me, and shared a love that knows no bounds. He’s everything an amazing Dad should be, which is why I make sure to be there for him through this journey. I can’t let him struggle on his own, because he never let me struggle on my own.Watching my Dad battle this has been inspiring too. He’s determined to help find a cure for this cancer and it amazes me. He’s on an experimental cancer treatment, so we don’t really know when this trial will end or understand of what’s to come.
So, taking time to be present and take care of myself has been super important. The tips I’m sharing are fairly easy, but we’re all different, so it’ll take practice to embrace. Even if you’re not dealing with cancer, these tips will definitely help you through any tough times you’re going through. I promise. I hope you enjoy some ways that are helping me get through these really tough times.
TALK TALK TALK
My tip NUMERO UNO is to talk about and share whatever you’re feeling. Every confusing feeling and thought, especially those really scary ones. Talking things out or venting and sharing what I’m going through has ALWAYS been how I’ve dealt with things, but it wasn’t till this cancer experience that I learned how healthy and important it actually is. I think my comfort about talking to anyone about whatever I’m struggling with has to do with my parents. They taught us the importance of honesty, good bad or indifferent. Unfortunately, it has been hard to vent to them about what I’m going through with this journey, because they’re going through it too. I’m so thankful for my friends and siblings and followers for being there. I feel so lucky to have developed a social media following, because I have thousands of others that listen.
I’ve learned sharing what I’m going through not only lifts the heaviness and pain that anxiety and fear creates, but I’ve received insights and wisdom from others in return. Not only has talking and venting given me strength to face these tough times, but has helped me understand that I’m not the only one going through tough times. We’re all struggling with similar things. We’ll never know that until we share what we’re going through. I’m so thankful to all the babes that have messaged me and shared their cancer journey. I’ve learned I’m not alone in this battle and you’re not either. Good cries help too. Shout out to my best friend for always being there for a hug or an hour long phone call, when I’m balling my eyes out. I have really caring siblings too and since we’re dealing with similar emotions it’s helpful to talk to others that aren’t dealing with the same emotions. Those outside your environment bring clarity and logical thinking, which I’ve learned helps me combat anxiety and stress.
If you don’t have trust worthy friends or family you can rely on, there are professionals out there waiting to hear from you. Schools and Colleges have counselors and therapist readily available. There are training clinics and community centers that provide low cost services. Even support groups and religious groups that you can reach out to – YOU just have to search for them. There is no need to feel scared or embarrassed about what you’re going through. Like I mentioned before, there are so many people that get it and are going through similar things too, so don’t get uncomfortable or feel awkward about it. Talking and sharing really DOES helps!
BE PICKY ABOUT WHO YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH
Whether your going through tough times or not, being picky about who you surround yourself with is so vital. I like to surround myself around kind, happy, supportive, and loving people. I’ve learned those type of people will inspire me to do and be my best, but most importantly, uplift me when I feel lost and hopeless. Tough times can make you feel like life has no point, but it’s so important to surround yourself around good people that can talk you through your struggles, that can give you a hug when you need it and uplift you. My 20s and this cancer journey have really taught me this lesson. I have learned through uncomfortable friendships and dating experiences we truly have the power to pick and choose who we want in our life. You don’t HAVE to force anything!!! And, you don’t have surround yourself around people that break you down, make you feel bad about yourself, or sad.
A month ago I stopped dating a guy because this cancer journey was getting more intense and hanging out with him felt so forced. My family is numero uno for me and all I wanted to do is be with my family. Plus, I didn’t feel like I was getting the support and encouragement I needed from him. I was getting more support and encouragement from my friends and followers than him, but to give him credit, he’d never dealt with cancer. He didn’t know how to give me the support I needed. I also realized this dating experience was draining me. I was worried about my Dad, but was forcing myself to enjoy ‘date night.’ Emotional situations, like cancer, can drain you, but the wrong relationships/friendship can too. I realized I needed to be selective about the people I surround myself with right now. It took a lot of contemplation, but I talked about that in a Youtube video about trusting your GUT. At the end of the day I had to trust my gut and the vibes I was getting. He wasn’t a bad guy or emotionally abusive, but I needed to be picky with my time.
Through my experiences with various friendships, even relationships, I’ve learned we don’t need to feel guilty about who we allow in our life. You shouldn’t feel bad about walking away from a relationship that isn’t contributing to your well being or making you feel whole and happy. This is YOUR LIFE and YOU ARE IN CONTROL. It’s important to reflect on your friendships and relationships and make sure you’re getting the love and support you need – trust me.
I wish I could say I workout, because I want a good butt and sculpted abs, but I workout because it lessens my anxiety. I’ve learned a good workout keeps me relaxed and happy, but research proves regular workouts decrease stress, anxiety, and anger, even lowers depression. Working out releases endorphins, which are a hormone that triggers a positive feeling in the body. Endorphins are kind of like a painkiller, but a very natural type. Working out promote good sleep too, which is so so so important to helping me be there for my Dad too. If I don’t have enough sleep I’m edgy, a bit bitchy, and that doesn’t allow me to be present and really be there for my Dad. Sleep really helps me stay balanced, grounded, and clear minded, so I can deal with my emotions and be there when he really needs me.
I try to workout everyday, but lately I’ve been too exhausted to find the motivation, so I aim for at least 3 workouts a week. My favorite workouts are cycling, boxing, and hot yoga. Sounds super intense, but I’ve grown to love a good sweat. I haven’t been able to hit boxing in a while, because my favorite gym is far, but I LOVE punching out my anxiety and stress on the boxing bag. I also love doing Hot Yoga, which is tough due to the heat, but the heat has a way of calming the brain and forcing me to focus on the present moment. Focusing on the present moment is important when dealing with hard times, because obsessing about What-ifs and the unknowns fuels anxiety and fear and that’s not good for me.
One of my favorite quotes I hear during yoga is “what you tackle on the mat, can help you tackle anything off the mat.” It reminds me that everything is mental and can be handled with a strong and focused mindset. It takes a strong and focused mindset to get us through super tough yoga poses and that mindset can help us get through life’s battles. Cycling is another favorite. My Dad bought my Mom the Peloton bike and I like to think it’s mine too. I can take cycle classes without having to leave my house. It’s amazing and they play upbeat music, so it totally makes me feel like I’m dancing at the club and I LOOOVE to dance. One of my favorite things to do is dance and I don’t get to do that as much anymore, so this is my favorite way to get a taste of that vibe.
Like I said, the physical benefits of working out are great, but I crave the mental benefits now. If you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, definitely try working out for a month. I’m sure the first workout will be tough, especially if you don’t workout regularly, but I promise you’ll find some clarity and calmness through a good sweat. It’s so good for the mind of and body.
So, this will vary for everyone, but self care for me is taking some time to be by myself. Taking time to to step away from my family and work, is very helpful, so I can just be and breathe and not think about what is going on in my life. That time out helps me rejuvenate, so I can focus on being strong for my Dad
There is an overload of emotions, when it comes to dealing with cancer. I have to make sure my Dad gets his medication on time, help out with meals, make sure things are going smoothly during chemo appointments also be prepared in case my Dad isn’t feeling well and we have to rush to the hospital. All of that is really stressful and overwhelming, along with trying to developing IMLVH. There’s a lot of worry and anxiety right now, which all causes a lot of stress on body and mind, so it’s important to find things that help me stop worrying.
Taking time away from my family for an hour or two helps me function and mentally deal with what gets thrown our way. Self-care varies for me: reading in morning, meditating, and writing in my gratitude journal really helps. Trying a new face mask that gets sent my way or treating myself to a mani-pedi helps too. Self-care should be things that calm your mind and help you be present.
EMBRACE THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY
This has been another challenging thing to do. It sounds so simple, but embracing things that bring you joy can be hard during hard times. Embracing things that make you laugh and smile, when your heart hurts is important. These hard times remind you that life is truly a gift, so everyday (the good and the the bad times) should be cherished including the things that bring you joy. It could be seeing your favorite artist sing or watching your favorite movie. A few weeks ago I splurged on Florence and the Machine concert tickets. There is something about Florence’s voice and listening to her music that brings me joy and happiness. Shout out to my Dad that helped me pay for them. It was a great night out that I got to bring along my best friend. Plus, I recorded some of it, so anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed I will watch some video from her concert and it brings a smile to my face.
I also love to dance, but I don’t get to go out a lot anymore, so I’ll try dance in my room or have a dance party in the car. If ya’ll follow me on Instagram, you know I’m obsessed with Dua Lipa’s new song Electricity. Sometimes I’ll dance by myself or sometimes it’s with my Mom and Best Friend. Even hitting my favorite workout or treating myself to one of my favorite meals helps bring joy into myself. It’s really important to attention to what brings you joy or puts a smile on your face, because it will help you reset and reboot, so you don’t lose hope. Also circles back to being picky about people that you bring into your life too.
I hope you enjoyed the ways that have been helping me get through the tough times. They haven’t been easy to do, but when I do these things it helps me stay a bit more grounded and sane through the chaos. If you have any other tips that have helped you deal with rough times, please let me know!! I’m all about sharing and learning new things!