Friday 21st January 2022

Self-Care: Share Your Story#3. 21/51#LifeThisWeek 58/2019.

Self-Care: Share Your Story #3 21/51 #LifeThisWeek 58/2019.

You know I thought I had self-care pretty well sorted. Turns out that is not always the case.

Back story:

I talk about and write about self-care but….when it comes to me, there are times I neglect to take into account some of my life circumstances and events where I may need to UP the self-care.

Does this make sense?

I found, to my detriment, that the need for self-care is especially high when I have:

  • had a time of remembering cancer’s decision to lodge in with me 2 years ago which I wrote about for several weeks before the 2 year anniversary
  • more emotions tucked under my more confident exterior than I realise
  • been to a cancer-centred place and
  • had a cancer check at said place

That was my Tuesday 21 May 2019.

How did I come to this conclusion?

From a 9 a.m. departure from home, to a 4 p.m. arrival , I realised, even though I love driving& returning to Sydney, that it had been a BIG day:

  • finding a park somewhere near any hospital is a pain but I did, it was quite a hike away & the carpark was not made for SUVs (mine is not huge!)
  • being on time for my catch up is important to me as was getting a double shot latte (and lemon delicious tart) into me before the meeting
  • having a good talk with N from Beyond Five and seeing my head and neck nurse too
  • leaving some art materials with the art program head at Lifehouse and being asked to come back to speak to other cancer patients about my positive take on life after a cancer diagnosis and how art helps me
  • being surrounded by the legacy of Professor Chris O’Brien in this amazing place, Lifehouse, named after him
  • viewing his memorabilia marking 10 years since his passing, even though I did not get to meet him, I have met his wife
  • attending my 3 monthly check marking 2 years since cancer diagnosis
  • getting good news (I guess) that there is no cancer present but I will need a CT scan next week….and be back for a check up in 4 months
  • having a wonderful chat and laughs with both my surgeon and nurse
  • them showing appreciation of my role as an Ambassador and getting some photos taken

and that without having cancer, I would not have been there nor had these experiences.

So: I HAVE had cancer and it’s always present (in mind if not body: cross fingers) and when that sank in, and I was tired & teary the next day…with some evidence of my old faithful emotional measure, IBS…

I KNEW what to do NEXT time.

For optimal self care I need to  allow the day after a big one like this to be a transition and be gentle to myself. In words and actions. Some art, some time outside in nature and something nice to eat with my coffee and to manage some more mindful and compassionate times telling myself how that’s been a tough time, but how I am caring for myself better now.

Oh. The new Apple Watch is helping me too. Stopping to breathe mindfully  or one minute every hour and counting my activity as it is good for me to be active – within the limits of my current physical health.

That’s what I have been up to.


Do you find you need a ‘day of rest or better care’ after a big event of any kind?


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  1. You touch on something I too am learning, that our emotions (or negative stress) sits very close under the surface. So we are fine and happy and buzzing along merrily and the painful/stressful experience is a long time in the past but one little thing can bring it all up and very ‘real’ again, even only in reflecting on the experience.
    Always, always make time for coffee (& cake). As our friend Augusten Burroughs says, ‘Eat the brownie’

    • Yes, our friend Augusten is right. Eat that brownie.

      Thanks Lydia for sharing what we can think is “just me” but is a universal feeling I believe. Sign of us trying to fit everything into busier times.

      Keep on sharing your Sydney with me, I love that!

      Denyse x

  2. A transition day sounds like a great idea. I definitely need to look after myself more, it’s so hard when you’re always busy!

    Di from Max The Unicorn

    • Thanks Di. I really need to remember it too.

      This week, without kind of realising I have something “on” every day. So much for retirement.

      One is a catch up with lovely Kirsty Russell which will be awesome.

      Denyse x

  3. A transition day is a very good idea, Denyse. I’m glad your Tuesday appointment went well. Wishing you good news from the CT scan. #lifethisweek

    • Thanks so much Natalie. I am thinking things will be OK at the CT scan but will be reassured when I am told that IS the result.

      Denyse x

  4. My self care – travel. Something to look forward to always keeps me going through the hard times.

  5. I think that the days before and days after appointments can be just as stressful as the appointment day itself. I’m pleased you’re listening to yourself and going gently.

    • Thanks Sam. It is that surrendering of control to the ‘what is’ yet ‘what ifs’ keep popping up.

      I do think now that I am better at accepting this is what it’s like I can make plans accordingly and be gentler to myself instead of critical.

      Denyse x

  6. Denyse, thanks for your take on this week’s prompt. It is true, isn’t it? Just being kind to ourselves is self-care too.

    SSG xxx

    • Yes it is SSG!

      Recently my husband told me he sees my efforts to change myself do not take into account my DNA, my growing years and my life experiences. I kept thinking (derrr!) that I had to change and get better at this thing called life.

      His words echoed today when I began feeling some stress about times ahead and I accepted what he said as being correct. Immediately the gut unclenched which is my way of saying “yes, let’s”.

      I shall continue to do this more!

      Denyse x

  7. I agree Denyse and recently wrote about having an Inspirational Flow Day where nothing was planned and you just did what you felt like doing for the day. We all need rest, recovery or self-care days. Whatever you label you like to put on it, it is all about not overdoing it and taking time for our minds and bodies to relax. Being kind to ourselves should be a priority. Have a great week!

    • Thanks Sue. Yes, I know more of my time has been reactive and that can play havoc with good health and emotional stability.

      Instead of a ‘day off’ per se, I now plan sections of my day much more loosely AND try, as best I can around appointments to “do one thing only on one day.”

      It’s good working out what fits us best as you are doing with your blog and yourself.

      Denyse x

  8. I think my week off came at a good time. I feel like my self care has been too much managing symptoms and while that’s long term care, it’s not short term care. It was nice to have fewer obligations in my head for a week, and that made the phyiscal care kind of easier. I am in a muddle going forwards though, but after weeks over Easter and break and all that – I think a full 5 day week routine will be good for me to get back into.

    • I always thought routine was not for me once I had finished work in schools but I soon found that, like most humans, I needed some structure.

      Now I have a loose routine for my days – and even have reminders about it on the phone – and it stops me from getting bogged down on an internet search or something else.

      I hope the 5 days helps. I know that you have been playing catch up for work and yourself for a very long time. Normal! That’s what you need….maybe!!

      Denyse x

  9. It’s a great idea to allow yourself a day of rest Denyse – that’s what the Sabbath was all about originally wasn’t it? The idea of being kind to ourselves and not burning out from all our hard work. You’ve certainly turned your diagnosis into a huge life change and I’m so glad others recognize how positively you’ve approached it.
    I also liked your idea of a minute of mindfulness when your watch tell you it’s time. I might start doing that when I get the reminder to move when I’ve been on my laptop too long (and then actually do those extra steps too!) I’m still doing 8-10,000 each day so I’m very proud of myself! (small victories)

    • Yes it was, of course. And in my childhood and into my early 30s no shops opened on Sundays. Back when I was a kid rarely did you find a garage opened for petrol.

      Church or Sunday School in the morning, a baked dinner for lunch, a Sunday drive and an ‘easy tea’ They are my memories of the 1950s and into the 1960s.

      Then of course, business wanted more of our dollars and those of us who worked full time welcomed Saturday afternoon shopping then Sunday shopping.

      We are in charge of our own life choices over time and now, I can finally pick and choose what I do to engage and relax

      It is taking time but I am getting there. I wish the same to you.

      Denyse x

  10. Some really great advice Denyse… having a “chilled day” always helps me regroup and re charge especially after a very busy or Emotional day!

  11. My husband mentioned as we left church last weekend that it feels like life is slowing down. I think PC said it in a derogatory tone but I am thrilled! I live for a quiet day without crisis or phone calls!

    Glad you allowed yourself some down time after an emotional, stressful day.

    • Slowing down sounds the best.

      Yet sometimes we want more!

      Fickle humans we are.

      Thanks Leslie for sharing.

      Denyse x

  12. I don’t have it sorted. At all. I’m restarting my year at 1 June & resetting my habits. There’s a difference between self care & self indulgence or self nurturing…

    • That is something “I” am very familiar with. I have learned, now, that to have self-compassion firstly is most important. And that it is not self-indulgence but self-caring.

      Once I heard the words defined more, it made so much sense to me as I was a very much confused by “self-indulgence” vs self-care.

      Getting better at it now. Dr Kristen Neff and Dr Chris Germer write and speak about what it’s all about. If you are wanting to know more, search ‘self-compassion’. I have had many false starts with it till the most recent months of this year.

      Wishing you well.
      Denyse x

  13. I love how positive and honest you are Denyse. You make me smile with your insights and that kind of day you described would be huge for anyone let alone someone who had all that history and angst to deal with as well! You deserve to take it easy when your body reacts and hopefully as you say you know what to do next time! Glad your new watch is helping you too. I’ve really enjoyed reading through all of these self care posts this week, and learnt a lot, so many thanks.

    • That is why we blog, isn’t it? To share our stories. I am glad you enjoyed reading the posts. That’s my fun once the link up has closed on Wednesdays.

      Today I may be still honest but not feeling “as positive”. With CT scan looming (unlikely to show anything BUT) I am down a little in the confidence stakes. I will be chatting to my GP tomorrow about things. Getting it out there is one strategy of reducing my fear.

      Hope you are not too cold but judging by your photos yesterday I do not think you will be in the sunroom for a bit. The wind has to die down some I guess.

      Thanks always for your generous and kind words

      Denyse x

  14. I think we don’t realise just how much something like this can take out of us emotionally. It sounds like a big day even just writing about it and that’s without the emotional element so I can only imagine the overwhelm at the end of it all. And powering through is not the answer. I’m glad you realised that and gave yourself more self-care after an emotionally big day like this. I think Neff does talk about this in her self-compassion book – the importance of realising how emotionally spent we can be. I didn’t realise how much battling something for almost two years took out of me until a friend pointed it out. I kept thinking I was in control but obviously, my body was telling me otherwise.

    • Yes, our bodies tell us (mine with IBS) yet we try to ignore these signals until we can’t.

      Thanks for sharing your understanding, coming via your personal experience too, so that others may be helped as well.

      Denyse x