Shift of Temperature
The heat has been oppressive and sometimes it feels like it’s all you can do just to make it through the day. And if you or your loved one is in treatment for cancer, the stress and fatigue can magnify.
Recently, I listened to a podcast about the comparison trap and how we often measure our success, happiness, or status by seeing how we compare to others.
Is she still working through treatment and I’m not? Should I be on a vegan diet like certain influencers? Am I living my best life and enjoying every moment like the people I follow on social media who also have cancer?
Comparison isn’t always bad. It can be a tool for growth where you get new ideas, learn new skills, or access resources.
But it can also create misery, depending on whether you can hold onto your own worthiness no matter what it looks like others are doing and enjoying.
One takeaway for me was how as humans we have always needed one another to survive, but also how painful it can be when you don’t feel like you belong somewhere.
The amygdala, the primitive brain of fight/flight/freeze in response to perceived threat, gets so activated that you can end up in a state of constant anxiety and stress, even during the phases or moments in life where there is a break from difficulty.
A cancer diagnosis creates a fight/flight/freeze response in everyone it affects, from the patient to loved ones, doctors, or acquaintances.
The fight/flight/freeze response is automatic but you don’t want to get stuck there.
Last weekend, my JoyBoots Inner Circle Group, that has been meeting for years, got together for our first in person retreat. Talk about having so many activities that helped us relax out of fight/flight, stress, and anxiety!
We enjoyed the first bit of beautiful weather for practicing yoga and meditation outside, swimming, and looking at the stars. Our view was bucolic country farms and we breathed in the peaceful natural beauty and sounds. Our delicious, healthy meals were beautifully prepared and served.
We shared our feelings and goals, tears and memories. We acknowledged our weariness. We left with greater tenderness for one another and for ourselves.
We felt safe and nurtured and, I believe, a sense of belonging and understanding.
These are the rare antidotes to chronic stress, especially among cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.
What are the ways you are showing tenderness this week, especially towards yourself? Can you reach out for more support if needed?