Recently, driving home from work on a Friday, I felt totally exhausted.
I had only worked five hours of overtime, and yet it felt like I had worked an extra 40. Also weighing on me was the recent Germanwings plane crash in France and the numerous lives lost.
I wracked my brain for a solution to what I was feeling, but nothing came to mind. I called one of my brothers, who didn’t have time to talk. I thought about a guy I used to like, but thought better of calling him. I stopped by Chipotle because that always helps me feel better.
But then it hit me: Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to have a bad week. That’s the bottom line.
When I arrived home at the end of that terrible week, I began paging through my friends’ Facebook posts. One friend had shared a timely quote from author and self-development activist Bryant McGill:
Just because your world is falling apart doesn’t mean you have to fall apart. When everything seems crazy, you be calm. Don’t let the outer chaos you are facing get inside of you.
For patients with mesothelioma, and their friends and family, every week may seem like a bad week. And listening to me complain about my long week at work probably makes you a little upset, as if I actually had real problems in my life. I can see your point.
When dealing with mesothelioma, you’re going to have good days and you’re going to have bad days. When the bad days and bad weeks come along, try a few of my solutions.
They won’t get you out of your bad week altogether, but they may help you make it to the next day, still fighting.
Get Your Favorite Food
I know it’s not always a good idea to eat away your feelings, OK, it’s never a good idea, but when you’re having a bad week, a tasty treat can really help. If you’re going through chemotherapy and cannot tolerate your favorite treat, maybe go with a piece of fruit or a yogurt parfait.
Call a Friend
You may want to call your daughter, neighbor or friend from church. Or you could think back to a childhood friend who you haven’t spoken to in a while. Whomever you choose, they will surely help you feel better. Make sure you tell them early on in the conversation that you’re having a rough week. That way, they will have the opportunity to reach out to you instead of sharing troubles of their own. You can end the conversation by inviting them to call you when they have a bad day.
Support Group for Patients and Caregivers
Join our monthly online support group to learn nutrition tips for managing cancer treatment side effects.
Go to the Movies or Rent a Movie
Every couple of months, I text a friend to schedule a night at the movies. A few weeks ago, we watched “Cinderella.” There’s something about a two-hour escape from reality (and to Disney, specifically) that really helps you feel refreshed and renewed. If you’ve had a bad week, I would suggest you avoid sad movies or scary movies, as they could make you feel worse. For me, a fairy tale did the trick, and I felt much better afterward.
If you’re not up for a night out, stream or rent a movie through Netflix or a vending service like Redbox. What’s great about this option is that you can fall asleep on the couch while watching a favorite film. I recommend old movies. There’s nothing like an Audrey Hepburn movie to help me see the brighter side of life.
Schedule a Massage or Acupuncture
I’ve seen a chiropractor for many years, and I always leave his office feeling better than when I arrived. My chiropractor in Orlando uses warm heat packs on my neck and back after he adjusts my spine, which leaves me feeling A-OK. The office just added an acupuncturist, so I’ve been seeing him as well. After my 30-minute appointment, I feel like a different person.
Some mesothelioma patients use body-based therapies such as acupuncture to treat pain, stress and anxiety. Your doctor can help you decide which alternative therapies could benefit you the most.
Read (or Listen to) the Bible
After a rough week, I like to read through some of the Psalms. It helps me to realize I am not alone in my struggles, and that I will get through whatever it is I’m going through. If you’re not up for reading, consider downloading a Bible app on your computer or smartphone, and listening to Scripture. (I use Bible Gateway’s app, and I really enjoy getting in bed early and listening to the Bible.)
Listen to a Sermon
During my rough week, I decided to listen to a sermon that I had missed at church. It renewed my spirit and helped me to focus on what’s important in life instead of my rough day at work. There are plenty of good sermons available online. I recommend John Piper or Timothy Keller. If you prefer something nonreligious, you can also find motivational speeches online or other types of emotional care.
Go to Bed Early, Sleep In
At the end of a rough week, I usually collapse into bed early on Friday night. But if you haven’t collapsed yet, it’s a good idea to head to bed early anyway. And try to sleep in, if possible. Sleep is the best, all-natural way of helping us feel better. I know it always works for me!
Hopefully these tips will help you get through your bad week or weeks. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day, with new hope.