Life is stressful...I don't think anyone could argue that fact.
Honestly, we don't get to control whether stress comes into our lives or not, but what we can control is how we manage that stress.
Earlier this week, I was faced with a very stressful situation and it was something I know for sure that my Breast Cancer Sisterhood understands completely.
I was at the doctor for my 1 year follow up exam, after my double mastectomy and they found a lump. It was something I'd felt...it's pretty large (2.5cm) and something they wanted to take a closer look at and although, the dr. was pretty sure it was nothing to be concerned about she wanted to get a closer look with an ultrasound.
My heart was beating faster already, even though she was pretty sure it was nothing, there was a distinct fear raging through my body that it might be something. The fear of reoccurrence. I'm guessing that this is something I'll always have...but hopefully over time, it will take more of a back seat in my life!
I was highly aware of the fact that I was tensing my shoulders, they were getting close to my ears (this is not where they're supposed to hang out!), I was clenching my jaw and my tongue was glued to the roof of my mouth. I almost felt like I was holding my breath.
I was lucky, they got me in that same day, just 2 hours later for my ultrasound. After the technician had shown the films to the Radiologist, she requested a mammogram to get a closer look inside the lump.
Stress level through the roof...flashing back to just a year ago, when I was first diagnosed and the different tests I'd had done at that point. All kinds of things going through my head, including the voice of reason "Karin, no matter what it is, you'll get through this, you've already done it once, you can do it again if you have to!" But fear was taking over that logical voice like a runaway train.
Thankfully, I was able to get the mammogram done immediately...
Even more, thankfully, the Radiologist came in with the results, with a huge smile on her face and let me know that the lump was totally benign and was fat necrosis, from the fat grafting surgery I'd had done 2 months ago.
Phew...big exhale as I realized I'd been holding my breath!! I started to shake and tears rolled down my cheeks with relief. I couldn't wait to tell Mike, my hubby, because even though he hadn't said anything I knew he was feeling every single emotion that I had been.
If this had been me ten years ago...I would've rushed back to work, even though I was exhausted at this point and in pain. I look back at the "me" then and think about all the things I shoved down and worked through, including almost going blind! I didn't listen to my body, I didn't know how to...I'd never learned.
I would have...
What a difference now...I've learned to listen to my body and what it needs...
After getting home from the doctors, I went straight to bed...I was completely drained on every level. I was asleep by 6:30 pm and slept until the next day. When I woke up still feeling anxious, my entire body aching with that super heavy feeling and completely exhausted, this is what I did...
Most of all...Be kind to yourself!
I used to think that I had to rush to get back into the swing of things but the truth of the matter is, that just puts even more strain on your body. Your adrenals are working overtime, hormones become unbalanced, food cravings kick in and keep getting louder and louder. It becomes a downward spiral of self-destruction that leads to sickness!
The day after my day of rest and recuperation, my pain was gone, my body was rested and well-nourished (mentally and physically) and yes, my energy was still lower than usual, so I took a low paced day, repeating what I knew worked for me, BUT I was on an upward path. The body is truly amazing and will bounce back more quickly when you give it what it needs rather than just trying to push through it.
Stepping back is not something that you'll see our culture embracing too often...something to do with us not feeling good enough unless we're giving 100% every day.
My question is...how is that working for you?
These are just a few scenarios, that where you would benefit from stepping back and nurturing yourself. Be patient, be kind and listen to what your body really needs.
If you need some help, figuring out what you're body is looking for, let's have a quick chat and see if I might be able to support you.