Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Stay Focused on Being Healthy When Life Gets Tough

[Note: I wrote this post yesterday, exactly four weeks after my dad was diagnosed with cancer. My sister called me yesterday, and we talked about how difficult this has been for all of us, but we also made a conscious decision to live life and focus on the positive. At first I wasn’t sure if I would ever publish this post as I want my blog to be a “happy place,” but this experience is part of my life, and I think focusing on the positive when life gets tough is an important part of life. So I hope you see this post not as depressing but as a reminder to live life at all times.]

The last four weeks since my dad was diagnosed with cancer in his eye have been some of the toughest days of my life. I feel so helpless and completely out of control. Many days I don’t want to get out of bed, but I know I have to. Work has been a welcomed distraction, but once I’m done teaching a class, the distraction is gone, and focusing on anything is difficult. The time change makes calling difficult. I usually get up around 4:00 a.m. and call and then again around noon. The days before surgery (we have had two so far), I stayed up until midnight so I could talk to him before he went into the operating room.

While I can’t do much from here, I do what I can. Besides phone calls, I send letters every few days, and I have also sent numerous books on CDs. I also call my sister and my mom every day. That’s pretty much all I can do from here.

As I said above, it would be really easy to give up on living a healthy life right now. A few years ago, when life threw me a serious curveball that’s what I did. I let go of my healthy habits, and the results weren’t good. This time around, I’m determined to take care of myself and my family. I owe it to my dad - a man who has focused on being healthy and active his entire life. So here is what I’ve been doing:
  • Schedule (and do) a workout every day. I’m very flexible with my definition of “workout” here, and any physical activity that lasts at least 20 minutes counts. I make a plan at the beginning of the week to make sure I lift weights at least twice, do some cardio, and do plenty of stretching and “mind calming” activities.
  • Eat healthy foods every day. Our meals have been simple, and I have thrown in some comfort foods, but overall, we have been eating lots of healthy foods. Making dinner every day is an accomplishment, and it makes me feel better.
  • Reach out to friends. I’ve met with some close friends for breakfast, lunch or tea, and talking to someone who cares has been extremely helpful.
  • Find ways to distract yourself. Blogging and reading blogs has been a great way for me to take my mind off things. I love finding out what you’ve been all up to. By updating my own blog, I focus on some of the positive things in my life. Which brings me to my last point.
  • Be grateful for all the good in your life. In a time like this, it’s easy to only focus on the negative, but there is so much good in my life, and I’m very, very grateful. Giving thanks every evening makes me mindful of all the good in my life.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my support system! What’s something positive in your life today?

Be well,