A Coach’s Perspective: Loss of Control and What We Can Do About It
Each of us, no matter our age or location, are currently experiencing a loss of control. We are no longer able to gather with friends, family or coworkers. Our anticipated plans to attend concerts, conferences, or family vacations have been cancelled. We are no longer able to meet friends for lunch, a day of shopping at the mall or a visit to the museum.
This loss of control can be disappointing, frustrating, unnerving, and even frightening. When we feel like our circumstances are out of our control, it often helps to recognize and focus on what we do have control over. Do we have control over anything right now?? YES!! We have control over our physical and emotional health and wellbeing.
In a recent Myeloma Crowd Radio show myeloma specialist Joshua Richter, M.D of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai shared recommendations of what myeloma patients (and all of us) can do to stay healthy during this time. He recommends following, “The three general principles of life, eat well, sleep well and get exercise…”.
Taking a few simple daily actions to focus on these three areas can reap a significant impact in each of our lives as we navigate unchartered territory.
- Eating a well balanced diet full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables not only helps us feel good, and improve our energy studies suggest, it can also help boost our immune function.
- As Dr. Richter said, “everything is made better by good sleep and worse by no sleep.” So true! And something we can all relate to and agree with.
- Not only does sleep help us feel good, research also suggests that a good night of it can also help boost the effectiveness of certain specialized immune cells called T-cells.
- Those who have participated in the Muscles for Myeloma Fitness challenge have reaped the benefits of daily exercise. (and you are still welcome to join!)
- Daily movement and exercise not only improves our physical health and strength it also boosts our mood! Research shows physical activity can also improve our bodies defense system.
- There are a variety of at home exercise options on YouTube.
A fourth principle I’d like to add to Dr. Richter’s list is emotional health and wellness.
- Researchers are beginning to unravel the complex interactions between our mental and physical health. Researchers have found evidence that positive emotions can enhance our health. Studies are emerging to show that emotions do impact our immune system.
- Protect your emotional health during this uncertain time by limiting the amount of news or negative images you let into your mind.
- Practice quieting your mind through meditation, mindfulness, and prayer.
- Practice gratitude. Work to find gratitude in everyday activities.
- Maintain social connection with others. Distance yourself, but don’t isolate. Social connection is key to our health and wellness.
- Consider working with a Myeloma Coach to have someone to talk to that can relate to what you are experiencing as a myeloma patient or caregiver.
“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.” -Unknown