Managing Your Schedule While Fighting Mesothelioma

Woman relaxing on sofa and reading book while holding cup

During your mesothelioma fight, it’s important to take control of your schedule.

If your schedule is busy, it’s vital that you make some time to relax. On the other hand, if your calendar is bare, you need to add a few things to avoid boredom.

I spoke with Sandy Drenner, a hypnotist and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner in Orlando, about strategies for both scenarios.

What if Your Schedule Is Full?

Up until recently, I kept quite a busy schedule. I worked 40-50 hours during the week, plus a few hours on Sunday. I had social or church engagements a few evenings a week, and Saturdays were always full with obligations, as well.

Maybe you can relate.

You may have doctor appointments several times a week, or maybe you’re in the middle of chemotherapy. You may have to travel for surgery, which consumes your time and energy. Maybe your friends and family keep such a close eye on you that you feel like you can’t breathe sometimes. It may seem like you never have even five minutes to spare.

Drenner says whatever the reason for a crowded schedule, the solution is to create some space in your day. She recommends you:

  • Create a routine or ritual throughout your day.
  • Get up 30 minutes early if you can, and enjoy your coffee and tea in a positive way.
  • Sit out back on your patio, read something uplifting, and allow yourself some space.
  • Plan for the future. Plan on living a long time.

Then, create another ritual in the evening, when you are able to wind down:

  • Take a bubble bath or nice, warm shower.
  • Reflect on your progress that day, no matter how small. Some days the progress may be that you made it through.
  • Put on very comfy bed clothes.
  • Read.
  • Have a cup of relaxing tea.
  • Snuggle in and watch TV. Turn it to comedy or something positive that interests you. (Negative TV can affect sleep and mental state, and you want to avoid this before bed.)

For me, I decided to arrive to work early each morning, so I could have about 30 minutes alone (with my coffee). I also discovered bubble baths can solve a lot of problems. They are the only moments of my days where I could forget every problem in my world and just relax.

What if Your Schedule Is Empty?

When my contract job ended a couple of months back, I was faced with the opposite problem: A wide-open schedule and hours of boredom. My mom, who is retired, often complains of the same.

You may be recovering from surgery or in between rounds of chemo, and you find your schedule much too empty. Be sure to check with your doctor or surgeon before you add too many new commitments to your life.

Drenner recommends a few strategies to keep yourself occupied:

Plan Activities

Evaluate your physical ability. Maybe you need to rest in the morning but have energy in the afternoon? If so, begin to plan activities a few times a week:

  • Check your local library (they may have free classes).
  • Volunteer.
  • Arrange lunch dates with friends or family.

Spend Time Outside

It will help your mental state. If you are unable to walk long distances, find a park where you can sit. Bring a book with you and pillows for comfort.

Take Up New Hobbies

Remember those things you were interested in but never had the time? Begin learning about them!

Drenner’s tips definitely helped me with my schedule. I make it a point to leave my house at least once each day, even if it’s to get a cup of coffee. I visited my local library for the first time a few weeks ago, and I added more volunteering to my schedule as well.

I add lunch dates to my calendar as often as possible, and I unearthed my sewing bin and sewing machine for the first time in years. My sister recommended a great series on Netflix, which I watch every afternoon. I also add a nap to my schedule as needed.

If your schedule is too full — or too empty — I hope you’ll take some of Drenner’s advice to heart. Hopefully, just like Goldilocks, your schedule will be “just right.”

Sandy Drenner’s practice is based in Orlando.

Jennifer Mia has been writing and editing for more than 15 years. She has worked for newspapers, magazines and online publications. When she was in college, she lost a brother to cancer, and now she writes blogs for The Mesothelioma Center. Jennifer hopes that her writing brings some small amount of hope and healing to the many men and women who are forced to deal with this horrible cancer.

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