Healthy Boundaries Are Necessary To Protect Your Energy While You Heal.

Posted: September 15, 2020







Mental Health

Healthy boundaries protect your energy while you heal from cancer.

I need some space, bud. How about you?

Managing your healthcare, relationships, job, and other responsibilities can be overwhelming even when you’re feeling well. Add cancer treatment into the mix, and the world starts closing in. It’s time to set some boundaries. 

Let’s carve out some time to just be ourselves, re-energize, and find joy! 

You know you need support during and after cancer treatment. Why should you set boundaries right now? 

  1. To understand your own needs and wellness goals.

It can be hard to think, let alone hear your inner voice, when you’re caught in a swirl of tests and treatments, “Get well soon” texts, bizarre advice, and unsolicited gifts. By the end of it all, many of us feel like strangers to ourselves!

“She was having a hard time managing her feelings at this point, mostly because she hadn't felt them in so long-they confused her... After you've been numbed for a while, disorientation is a natural reaction as you come back around. It's like waking up from anesthesia and not knowing exactly where you are.” - Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map Experience: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul

Sound familiar? This quote isn’t actually about a woman finding herself again after cancer, but you’ll probably find it resonates nonetheless. 

In The Desire Map, author, coach, and “force field of love,” Danielle LaPorte shares, “Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have.” During and after cancer, that clarity can be in short supply, though. We must protect our energy, physically and emotionally.

Resting and recharging are critical to healing from even the common cold. Don’t underestimate their utility for healing from cancer! Clear perspective on your wellness goals is the first step to achieving them, so set whatever boundaries you need to clear your head, bud. 

  1. To make the most of your time.

What do you do when you’re alone? How can you create better boundaries around your time? 

While catching even five minutes of “me-time” can be challenging some days, taking a few minutes to refocus can work wonders on your wellbeing. We suggest that you block out some personal time to “do you”- for your health, of course! Power up with things that “spark joy”.  Listen to yourself, and trust your instincts about how you should be spending your time (and who you want to spend it with). Really channel your inner Marie Kondō here. 

In her book, Marie encourages the reader to ask, “Does this spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it,” she goes on to say. With a full appreciation for the inspiration behind the phrase, you can extrapolate the KonMari concept to your life at large to help you maintain healthy boundaries in relationships and time management. 

Now is the time to spend more time doing whatever makes you feel grateful, happy, and alive, whether that’s spending quiet time with your family or a solo dance party to your favorite tunes.

  1. To protect your privacy.

Your peace of mind depends on some boundaries around privacy. Your cancer journey doesn’t have to be a public affair.

You don’t have to tell someone everything on your chart just because they ask, especially if doing so makes you feel, well..  kind of shitty. (Are we the only ones who feel re-traumatized by sharing the same statistics and test results over and over again?) Consider taking a cue from poet and mediator Yung Pueblo when deciding how to answer loved ones’ questions about your health:

"Giving yourself the space and time to respond instead of reacting blindly is an important way to reclaim your power." -Yung Pueblo

If you’re not comfortable answering a question or discussing a particular topic, set a boundary. Give yourself some time before responding to decide how much you want to share about your experience with cancer. 

Once you’ve decided, make sure those closest to you are also in the loop. Don’t be afraid to tell friends and family what they can and can’t post about you. It’s their Facebook feed, but it’s your deeply personal health information. It’s ok if you don’t want your mom’s closest 800 friends to know you puked your guts up all day after chemo. 

And as always, the conversation is open if you want to talk, reach out day or night! 

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