Written by: Kathryn White, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Fatigue and a lack of energy are real problems for people living with cancer. Treatments and surgeries can be depleting on the body and energy. So can pain, stress, and anxiety. I always encourage my clients to do what they can and within their means. A little bit of something can boost your mood and reinvigorate your soul. Sometimes that is half the battle.
Here are some of my favourite ways to get a little energy moving and to help boost the mood at the same time.
Listen to Energetic Music
Different types of music have different effects on us, but you can learn which are best for you by trial and error. Once you find the music that wakes you up, keep it ready. And, if you feel like you want a little more get up and dance! Moving your body helps to get your energy flowing.
Sleep When You Need To
Sleep can be a real problem when steroids, stress, and pain are preventing you from falling asleep. A regular sleep schedule may not be possible or work. If this is the case, take naps as your body feels ready. Fighting it isn’t going to help. You need to rest when you can. Even a little sleep is better than none. Try drinking something warm before bed like chamomile tea, or relax with a simple meditation or white noise. When you wake up you may feel a little bit better.
Eat Healthy Foods
Nutritional support is key during cancer. Try to eat lots of plants and fruit. Avoid heavy foods and fatty foods. Definitely avoid highly processed foods; they have little nutrition and the unhealthy fats will make you tired. Sugary drinks, candy, and pastries put too much fuel (sugar) into your blood too quickly. The ensuing crash leaves you tired. “Complex carbs,” healthy fats, and protein take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and provide a slow, steady stream of energy.
Several slow deep breaths help oxygenate the blood supply better, and especially seem to wake up the brain. A side benefit is that deep breathing can also reduce stress and anxiety, calm the body, and even help you fall asleep.
Move Your Body
Sometimes just getting up and washing the dishes, or walking around the house helps boost energy levels. Often cancer patients are told they should be sitting and resting. That can be hard on mental health because of the lack of engagement in life. There is nothing wrong with gentle movement over the course of the day. It will reinvigorate the body and the mind.
It's not a quick solution, but many people notice an increase in their energy level when they get regular exercise. Cancer patients that do not have restrictions on movement can actively participate in physical exercise (always check with your doctor). Some people walk, some do yoga, some swim, and some even keep up their running practise. Movement will help with energy and it also helps with moving the lymphatic system, cellular health, and mental health.
Often, a little sunshine and fresh air can be very energizing. As an added benefit, there are studies that show that being in nature can increase a person’s rate of healing. And, a change of scenery is always good for the soul.
Although it may seem overwhelming to try to get motivated when you are tired, a little energy boost can go a long way. Always do what you can, be mindful of any physical limitations, and take it slow if you are trying something new. But also remember, that just because you have cancer doesn’t mean you can’t do things to support your health and happiness.
Come work with me in my 3 Month Cancer Support Coaching Program that I offer to help people living with cancer, whether you are actively in treatment or are moving into the next stages of reclaiming your life. Working with a Cancer Support Coach is the key to moving beyond just surviving and into THRIVING in life. Go to my website and grab all the details.
I am currently running a Free 3-day workshop, Thrive with Cancer: moving beyond just surviving, once a month so that individuals living with cancer can access my strategies, get to know me, and get some insight into what working with a Cancer Support Coach looks like. It is open to anyone who is living with cancer, is living life after cancer, or is a caregiver. You can register for my workshop here.
You can also tune into my podcast Living to Thrive with Cancer on Spotify.
Kathryn White, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Kathryn White is a Cancer Coach with a passion for serving others. In 2015 Kathryn was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. Almost 7 years later she is living a happy and healthy life which she attributes to her amazing medical team, her belief in her ability to rise above her diagnosis, significant lifestyle changes, and the love of her family.
Kathryn merges her experience with cancer with her former profession as a public school teacher to coach others living with cancer and cancer survivors on how to reclaim their health and happiness. At the heart of her coaching is the belief that we are not our diagnosis and that with the support it is possible to navigate life with cancer.
As a trained teacher, Certified Nutrition Educator, 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and Certified Holistic Cancer Coach, Kathryn integrates nutrition, movement, mindfulness, and other healing modalities into her coaching. The integration of these modalities truly makes Kathryn's Cancer Coaching a body, mind, and spirit-focused process.
Kathryn has taken her experience and knowledge and shared it with others through workshops and speaking events, where she strives to inspire others to make lifestyle changes that can build health and prevent dis-ease in the body. She is the host of The Living to Thrive Podcast, which is focused on educating people on how to be more health-full and stress-less. Kathryn has built her life with cancer around the mantra: Live to Thrive.