Saturday, March 18, 2017

Presents for me and the importance of having a happy place

I'm someone who does well when I feel ready and prepared.  Having outstanding to-do's gives me stress.  So with the decision made about chemo, I went on a shopping trip this morning at Amazon.

I'm giving two chemo hats a try, knowing I can return them so easily if they don't work (love you, Amazon):

Next on the list was something I've wanted for a long time:  A waterproof iPod for the pool and spa.  I need to pick up my long lost practice of meditation, which I mostly did in the morning when I swam.  It's hard to get the voices out of my head, though, so I'm going to give this a try.  I intend to fill it with quiet meditation music.

Quite a few swimmers use these, though they always seem to have to mess with the ear buds while swimming.  If that's a problem for me, I still plan to use this after my work-out while relaxing in the spa.  It is a great way to start the day.

And then I'm going back to yoga.  I took a class at my gym when I was 30 lbs lighter.  I loved the strength, flexibility and feeling of accomplishment I had when finishing the class.  But it was WAY too challenging for me to keep up.  My back constantly ached.  Even with the modified poses the instructor offered, it was an aggressive routine that even the thin, experienced people in the class said was challenging.  So I bought two yoga DVDs directed at older, larger women.  I'm not sure when I'll have the time for them, but this is supposed to be the point of doing less cooking and hiring a cleaning lady.  I must remind myself that I should fill that spare time with rest and things like this.

And lastly, I picked up an Animal Crossing Amiibo set for $6.00.  What is an Animal Crossing Amiibo?  I HAVE NO IDEA!  But I'm playing this Nintendo game on my son's DS XL and from what I understand, I can do more things in the game if I buy and scan some Amiibo cards.

For me, having a "happy place" to go has been a very big saving grace.  Animal Crossing is a video game that I used to play with my son when he was young.  It's not a racing or timed-type game, as those stress me out.  Think Sims with animals for neighbors.  It runs in real time (yesterday was really St. Patrick's Day in the game), and you just wander around, catch some fish, dig for treasures, complete little tasks, or play easy little games to make money to buy stuff for your house and your town.

It's not a thinking game, for when I'm too tired for Words With Friends or other strategy games I'm fond of.  It's a completely simple little activity that allows me to decompress, and most importantly, step away from reality.

I've found since going through this stressful period, I have less tolerance for Facebook, as you never know what is going to hit you on your news feed.  People often share very depressing things and you can't control the content.  Television is the same, commercials make me hungry, news blips can get my blood boiling.  Even a good book requires conflict in order to make a good story.  And when going through cancer treatment, there are times I don't want any of it.  So my favorite activity at the end of the day has become sipping a mug of bedtime tea, eating 2 oz of yummy dark chocolate, and  sitting with my husband while he's watching sports and I bury myself in this little cartoon land where everyone is happy, no one is sick or dies, and no one struggles to get through the day.

If you are reading this for yourself or for a loved one who is going through something like this, I HIGHLY recommend thinking up an activity like this.  Maybe adult coloring books would be another option, or learning how to knit.  Something that doesn't require thinking too hard but is relaxing to do.  For me, it's Animal Crossing, and I am looking forward to seeing what the heck these Amiibo cards are.

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