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Whether you’ve had a bad day at work, are going through a breakup, or just can’t seem to shake your mood, we all get the blues from time to time. Here are some of the most popular quotes that we have shared on our Instagram to help you re-energize, refresh, and feel inspired.

It’s okay to not do it all.

A rhetoric now exists about women who can and should “do it all.” But balancing multiple priorities including career, family, friends, working out, finding time for yourself and personal projects can be overwhelming.

So here’s a reminder that you shouldn’t hold yourself to unrealistic, Super-woman standards, and don’t be afraid to delegate when you have too much on your plate!

Be there for others but never leave yourself behind

The self care trend has been hot lately, and for good reason. No matter how busy life gets, it’s important to make space in your life for “me time” – whether that means getting a workout in, unwinding in the bath, or finding a few minutes to meditate. Taking care of yourself will also help you care for others more effectively.

So remember to spoil yourself – it’s the opposite of selfish!

If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.

Comparing your life to others is never a healthy practice, and it becomes even more toxic when your expectations become based around idealizations of carefully curated highlight reels on social media. It seems that the grass is always greener – but the reality could in fact be far from the truth.

Instead, focus on practicing an attitude of gratitude for all that you appreciate in your life. This shift in perspective will actually make you feel happier!

Be patient with yourself.

It’s about the journey, not the destination. So don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t where you thought you would be at this age or stage of your life. Who is? Being patient does not mean that you are settling or giving up; but rather, it’s recognizing that everything takes time and there are great lessons to be learned along the way.

So stop and smell the roses, embrace the in-between moments, and remember that Rome (and Beyoncé) wasn’t built in a day.

We’re in this together.

You’re not alone! When you feel isolated or down, reach out and use your support system to help bring up your mood. Make plans to meet up with a friend, or just pick up the phone and have a chat. Its amazing what feeling connected to others can do, and usually those close to us can relate to or sympathize with what we are going through.

It’s true: We all need somebody to leeeeean on.

November 25 2009, 10:38 PM

This post is a follow-up to my hugely unhelpful and paralysis-inducing post Ten Things Not To Say To Someone With Cancer. In an effort to make amends for freezing the tongues of well-meaning loved-ones, I’ll provide a quick round-up of some of the best things anyone has ever said to me concerning my cancerousness. Some are originals, some are quotes – for various reasons they’ve all worked for me. Herewith, in no particular order, some of my favourites:

  • “Never Let Go Of The Potato.” My French brother-in-law enthusiastically offered up this Louisiana expression — lâche pas la patate — freely admitting he had no idea what it meant. I like it for its absurdity and passion, like a slogan Che Guevara might have shouted, fist in air …if he had been a revolutionary, um, potato farmer.  But the point is, if the patate in question represents life, well, then I vow to lâche onto it with all I’ve got.

 

  • I feel sorry for the cancer.” I know I’ve mentioned this one before – but my friend Ben’s delivery was so good I felt like Al Capone.

 

  • “When in hell, keep walking.” A version of Winston Churchill’s “Keep Buggering On” which is another of my absolute all-time favourites.

 

  • “For myself I am an optimist. It does not seem to be much use being anything else.” Truly, I could do a whole list of Churchill quotes, god love the old soak. This one came to me from my friend Scotty Douglas.

 

  • “I’m not only here for you, I’m in-cancer’s-face here for you.” And its true, she was, and is, and I can’t begin to tell you how I love her for it.

 

  • “Yes, we’re Lifers, but it sure beats the alternative.” This, from a friend with the BRAC cancer gene – who has so far beaten both breast and pancreatic cancer, thank-you very much – in response to my whining that we were stuck dealing with cancer for the rest of our lives. Her point was, better to spend your life fighting, than not to have a life to spend at all.

 

  • “In the words of Bruce Cockburn, “We’re gonna kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight!” I could have posted this friend’s letter in its entirety, it was so on-the-money for my headspace that dark day (and so many days since!) but it was just so well written I’m afraid that might lead to someone offering him the book deal I want for myself, so all you’re getting is this great Bruce Cockburn quote.

There are more, so many more. And the writers/speakers of these things are brave souls – all of them – for finding their own way to tell me I’m loved and not alone at times when I need to hear that more than anything.

But in fact, sometimes just saying “I love you. You’re not alone, I promise.” is the most powerful thing you can say.

That is, as long as you don’t go off and forget that you promised to actually be there.

I think this would be a good list to keep going. From time to time I’d like to post round-ups of things both well-meant and well said on the maddening subject of my having cancer. There are actually so many of them that they effectively eclipse the many things that were well-meant but catastrophically said. And if anyone out there wants to contribute to this round-up of What to Say to Someone with Cancer, please do – I’ll collect as many quotes as I can, and together we’ll post something that will liberate all those poor people who live in fear of saying the wrong thing, especially those I drove into total verbal paralysis with my Ten Things Not to Say post. Perhaps we won’t be providing snappy one-liners to throw out at cocktail parties when the subject of cancer just happens to rear it’s buzz-killing head, but I think it could still be really useful to share what helps (and what doesn’t). You never know what’s going to work for someone when she or he needs it most — be it the person with cancer or the tongue-tied loved-one.

 

P.S. By way of explanation of my recent absence from the blogosphere: I’ve been away — and I’m going away again (escaping up north, with my little family and some friends!) which makes me a very happy woman and a very delinquent blogger. Apologies – will be less delinquent next week.

November 17 2009, 12:26 PM

On Friday I had CT scans of pretty much everything but my arms and legs to check the stage of my lumps and bumps as compared to three treatment cycles ago (that’s just over two months ago). We’ll get the results Thursday morning, when I go in for my regular clinic appointment.

Normally a head scan wouldn’t be included but I’ve been having some dizzy spells and frankly they’re freaking me out a bit.Despite my best efforts, the words “brain tumour” crept into my mind like sneaky little spiders leaving clingy cobwebs of fear behind. Reassuringly, my oncologist said that the problem is more likely related to circulation (it mostly happens when I stand up or get out of bed) but since I have a pretty good record of reporting symptoms that turn out to be indicators of disease progression, she’s not messing around. She tagged an “urgent” head scan onto my scheduled CT so we can get all the results at the same time.

And so here I am again, trapped in the hope-fear continuum, as I always am whenever I wait for the results of tests like these. No matter what I’m doing – working or buying groceries, talking or typing, listening or laughing – I can feel the almost magnetic tension between the poles of hope and fear. It feels like walking a tightrope, where any slip can hurl me either into terror or wild optimism.

And this time in particular there’s a lot going on, pulling me in both directions. There is the fear that the scans will reveal tumour growth or new spots, possibly in my (gulp) brain. I’ve also noticed pain at the site of my original tumour, the one long-ago removed, and …is that a little lump under my arm??

But before I spiral down into the murky depths of Fearsville, let’s just shake off the slime of terror and foreboding for a moment and give the other end of the spectrum a chance.  Because there is also the lure of hope: pure and shiny and just as powerful a pull as the gravity of fear. And this time, offsetting the whirlpool suck of fear, I have to say hope’s got a pretty good leg-up. This time, I actually believe I have reason to be hopeful – dizzy spells and phantom tumour pain notwithstanding.

Even though I’m superstitious enough to hesitate to blog it out to the universe for fear of jinxing myself, I’ve decided that I will share why I’m leaning toward hope because I also have a cockamamie theory that other people wishing for it too might help to make it come true.  So, here goes: I can feel that the lumps in my neck are getting smaller! Its not just my imagination – my oncologist has on two occasions made a happy/surprised face and a little “Hm!” sound when examining me in the past few weeks.  (She is not the overly effusive type, so for her, I like to think “hm!” is the equivalent of jumping up and down and high-fiving me.)

Anyway, I’ll know on Thursday. In the meantime I’ll walk the tightrope and try not to go completely mad. Although I confess I’m rubbing my shrunken neck lumps like lucky pennies, and giving my brain and under arm lump 800-pound-gorilla status just by dint of the concentration it requires to not think about them.

Luckily, I had a visit with my amazing cancer shrink yesterday, and he says “What-ifs” are strictly off limits.

No matter how positively you spin a What-if, reasons my amazing cancer shrink, it invites its opposite, thereby opening the door to anxiety.

And nobody wants to live in that house, located, as it is, in the reeking swamp of Fearsville. So I just have to stay with what I know, which, right now, is …nothing. Nothing is pretty hard to hold onto – but even if it’s not as great as good news, it’s still better than bad news.

Holding onto nothing… Oh my, my, my. That’s the thing about cancer: you might beat the disease, but you’ll probably go crazy doing it.

October 29 2009, 10:48 AM

You’d think having breast cancer would give me some idea of how to react or what to say when I hear that someone I know has cancer, but it doesn’t seem to work like that.  I’m still sometimes just as mute and aghast as the next guy. But — at the risk of paralyzing you further when you are next faced with talking to someone with cancer — I can help with what not to say. Here are some pointers:

1.  “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.” Please, make an effort. Use your imagination. And above all, don’t be dismissive of the person’s legitimate right to feel totally freaked out. Cancer is serious business. It’s Darth Vader, the Bogeyman and weird Haitian voodoo hexes all rolled into one. Let’s respect the fear, but nurture the hope. Try telling the person that you’re sending her prayers/energy/good mojo/whatever. Plagiarize — grab a quote from someone she’s inspired by (Winston Churchill’s “Keep buggering on” works for me.) Or, if you can pull it off, make her laugh, like my friend Ben did when he said: “I can’t believe it picked you… I feel sorry for the cancer.”

2. “My cousin had cancer and she never missed a day of work, even when she was having chemo.” Well, la-tee-da! I hate her already. This is called Lance Armstrong-ing. We are not all going to win the Tour de France 150 times during our cancer treatment. I do understand the intention to show by example what is possible; that a person can beat her cancer and it need not even slow her down, rah rah sis boom bah. But go gently, brave cheerleader, if you’re going this route. Avoid Lance Armstrong-ing.

3. “You should try a macrobiotic diet/seeing my guru/eating all your meals while standing on your head/etc.” There are many things outside of conventional medicine that can have amazing results. If you want to suggest something that might involve a big change for a person with cancer, remember that she might be trying just about everything she can manage already. You can inadvertently set her up to feel like she’s not really “fighting” if she doesn’t take your advice and meditate with a Shaman in Goa. If you passionately believe in a certain remedy, try an open-ended approach: “If you’re not really into talking about this let me know, but I heard of something I wanted to share with you, and you can feel free to take it or leave it.”

4. “You have to beat this for your daughter/son/kids.” Oh really? Because I wasn’t already lying awake at night in a cold sweat, just praying I’m going to see my child’s 10th birthday/bar mitzvah/wedding. But thanks for pointing it out, and adding that extra layer of self-blame if my next test results aren’t so hot… I know that this sort of statement is intended to get the person to draw on her inner parental love-power and pull through for the sake of her kids, and yep, that ferocious love is a pretty potent force. Nobody, sick or healthy, wants to imagine not being there as their children grow up. Sadly, you can do everything in your power to beat cancer and still not win – but is that because you didn’t love your kids enough?

5.  “I read a study that said __________.” Please see recent blog posts on the dangers of interpreting statistics and studies. If you read something that is interesting or that you think is important, tread very carefully when bringing it up with someone who has cancer.  Even if you’re a doctor, your information – or misinformation – can have a huge psychological impact, and not always for the better.

6. “Think of cancer as a gift/lesson/opportunity.” Let me ask you this, oh spewer of bunk, which kind of gift would you prefer: a bracelet/flowers/spa treatment… OR a disease that robs you of your health, job, hair, vitality, fertility and possibly your life? Need some time to think it over? Let me tell you what I would choose: not to have cancer ever again anymore for the rest of my life. That is a gift. However… there was a woman I knew and admired and loved like a second mom, and she used to refer to her cancer as “a gift wrapped in barbed wire.” This acknowledged that the experience of cancer did bring many positive things (inner strength, deep connections with other people, perspective on life – whatever) but that it was painful and hurtful and excruciating to get to those things. So in Mary Sue’s honour, I will allow this: if you really, really insist on suggesting that cancer is a gift, please emphasize that its one that comes wrapped in barbed wire and rolled around in a lot of crap, resembling a giant, spiky and foul-smelling truffle.

7. “Should you be having that glass of wine / cheeseburger / Marlboro Light / triple sundae with chocolate sauce / tequila body shot?” (Gosh, that does sound like a good time, doesn’t it??) OK, we all know that there are things that aren’t good for us; things that studies show are linked to different cancers; things that we should avoid.  Personally, when I indulge in these sorts of things from time to time I do so because I want to feel normal. Because they make me happy. Because I’ve had a bad day, dammit. Whatever the reason, I probably already know I shouldn’t be indulging, and I probably don’t need you to call me on it. My standard line is always, “You just worry about yourself, I’ve already got cancer.”

8. “Stay positive, it’s all in the attitude.” Before you say this, consider: Have you ever tried staying positive when all your hair falls out and you’re afraid of dying? Actually, this statement is not necessarily a no-no, but it’s a really tough call, because while keeping a positive attitude is important, it’s not necessarily going to affect your longevity. Apparently it’s authenticity that counts – feeling what you’re feeling when you feel it. Nobody can be positive all the time, so why should someone with cancer be able to constantly maintain a chipper outlook? Instead of telling someone her health depends on her positive attitude, just try doing what you can to make her life easier when she’s feeling like crap.

9. “We didn’t invite you because we thought you wouldn’t be up to it.” Don’t. Ever. Do. This. Always invite the person with cancer even if you know she’s bed-ridden. Make sure she knows that there’s no pressure to attend, but that you wanted her to know she’s included anyway. Keep inviting her to everything you would if she weren’t sick – the block party, the girls’ lunch, the political rally, the tarts-and-vicars soirée – everything. Let it be her choice if she can make it or not. You’ll be making her feel that she’s still part of the world; still herself. And besides, you never know when she might actually be up for one of these events.

10. “So-and-so said that getting your kind of cancer at your age is the worst because it means your chances of survival are terrible, and I was like, Oh this is so upsetting, why are you telling me this??” Why indeed, would anyone ever tell anyone that? Why would someone then recount it to the person with said “terrible chances of survival?” Yet someone really did say this to me once, without even realizing what she was saying. And I love her still, in spite of it.

I guess I wanted to end with that one to make the point that you can’t really say the wrong thing if your heart is in the right place. I mean, you can obviously (and quite spectacularly!) but it’s not the end of the world. And it shouldn’t be the end of a friendship. Love is clumsy sometimes. There’s no perfect thing to say, because everyone is different, and everyone’s cancer is different. Maybe the best approach is “I love you and I hate that you have to go through this, but I’m here for you.”

And then don’t forget to actually be there.

Name: Rose Anne Crisostomo

Age: 39

Occupation: Human Resources Manager

Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 36

Breast cancer type: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

Breast cancer stage: Stage 2 (estrogen and progesterone positive), BRCA 2 POSITIVE.

Treatment: Six rounds of Chemo, 25 rounds of Radiation, Surgery ( which included a double mastectomy, fat grafting, expanders, and nipple tattoo)

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer

When I was little most girls played teacher, I played lawyer. I asked my mom to buy me files, paper and pens and I would draft up divorce papers.

What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?

Happy by Pharrell Williams

How did you discover your breast cancer?

I was 24 weeks pregnant at the time, and noticed a big hard lump on my right breast, as it was my first pregnancy I thought it was a clogged milk duct.

What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?

I went numb. I did not cry until later that day, but I started to think, what’s going to happen to me?, what’s going to happen to my unborn child?, what about my family and friends?

What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed with breast cancer?

If it was going to happen to anyone it would be you, your mentally stronger than I am. (my thoughts were….did she just really say that to me?????) Ignorance is bliss I guess.

Who or what is/was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?

I would not have made it without the help of my mom, who moved in with us for seven months (just after I was diagnosed with cancer) and took care of me, my husband and ultimately little Benjamin. At 72 years young, she stepped up to the plate and looked after us all. Through emotions, exhaustion, and never ending work of looking after a newborn, she was my rock, and my very best friend. Of course my husband as well, he was there for me at my lowest points, your know your marriage is strong when he has the strength to shave his wife’s head.

What is/was the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?

I think the unknown. You live your life day by day, but you really don’t know what the future has in store for you. You will always be nervous when you have to do routine blood work, and annual check ups. Neither my fight nor my journey is over, but I’m hopefully the worst is behind me.

What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?

I am stronger than I was before, and even though I’m not always confident, I know I am a fighter. I’m happy, and blessed to be alive.

In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Fight like crazy to get your life back because after all that’s what you’re fighting for: your life.

…………………………..

For more #YWBC profiles click here or to be featured contact Shawna@Rethinkbreastcancer.com

Tomorrow April 7th is World Health Day: A global health awareness day sponsored by The World Health Organization (WHO). This year’s focus is mental health. It is interesting to me that the World Health Organization has chosen this topic for their campaign this year. Surely there are other more important health crisis across the globe that trump (no pun intended) depression and mental health? Or are there?

According to a press release put out by WHO in March:

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

They go on to say that they have identified strong links between depression and “non-communicable disorders and diseases” meaning that people with, let’s say… CANCER have a higher risk of depression.

This is a huge acknowledgement in the psychosocial oncology world and one that people diagnosed with cancer need to be aware of. I have heard one too many times from women with earlier stage breast cancer that once treatment is over they felt like they were hit with a title wave of sadness and grief. These two questions linger once the dust settles:

What the F*%k just happened?

Followed by….

Why don’t I feel relieved and happy to be finished with that part of my life?

No cancer equals all better

There is a clear expectation that if you look good you feel better. There is even a program based on this assumption. Just because someone doesn’t look ill or the poster image of a cancer patient doesn’t mean that they are completely healed. There are often lingering physical and emotional side-effects (laundry list here), post-treatment or adjuvant therapies like Tamoxifen and the biggie – recovering from trauma.

Note: Those with metastatic or stage 4 cancer often experience some form of depression or anxiety that requires treatment. They are in perpetual fear and anxiety as they are scanned every 3-4 months.

Many people have heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when it comes to war or an act of violence, but often people don’t think of a cancer diagnosis as the cause of that kind of extreme stress. I am not sure if this belief comes from some sort of normalization of cancer in our society (the “everyone gets cancer” attitude) or maybe it is a belief that cancer is curable? A diagnosis can and does cause some people such extreme stress that 1/3 of people with cancer experience anxiety disorders or depression. That’s 32% of cancer patients according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2013.

Let me break down some examples of cancer related trauma:

Being diagnosed with the disease

THOUGHT: I may die.

Diagnosis of an advanced cancer

THOUGHT: This disease is incurable and I will die from it.

Painful tests and treatments

THOUGHT: People are poking and prodding me. My body is not my own.

Pain from the cancer itself or other physical issues

THOUGHT: I feel pain and my body is never going to feel the same.

Test results

THOUGHT: The cancer has progressed and attacked other parts of my body.

Long hospital stays or treatments

THOUGHT: I am in a place with sick people. I am a sick person. I am a cancer patient.

A cancer recurrence or the potential for recurrence

THOUGHT: I might get cancer again and there is nothing I can do to stop it or control it. I am at the mercy of this disease.

Often people don’t know they are experiencing any type of cancer related mental health issue until they are there, and they can sometimes feel quite shocked and ashamed. There can be feelings of guilt – you should be feeling grateful or “lucky” that you made it through and your body is showing no evidence of disease. Or you may feel pressure to be happy and to move on from the experience but you can’t.

Being Prepared

I know I say it a lot but I am going to say it again…wait for it…Knowledge is power! Especially when you are blind-sided by feelings that seem antithetical to what you think you are supposed to feel. We hear this with post-partum depression a lot. Here you are – you just had a baby. The joy and happiness you are supposed to be feeling is clouded by anxiety, fear and sadness. No one prepared you for this. You always wanted to be a mother and you always heard this is supposed to be the happiest moment of your life. And then it’s not.

I had post-partum depression and I remember desperately wishing someone had told me or warned me this might happen. Wishing I had the heads up and was prepared so that it was less scary and frightening when it came so that I could be pro-active and put supports and measures in place just in case…and I did with my second child.

It is important that those diagnosed with cancer are prepared in a similar way. While referrals are often made to psychosocial oncology resources DURING treatment, patients are left holding the proverbial bag after treatment. Many are not aware these support services are accessible once their hospital treatment is over, and most initially feel like maybe they don’t need them. This can leave you scrambling in your darkest hour when you are most vulnerable.

As mental health continues to get more and more attention as a health epidemic, it is important that we start with educating our most vulnerable populations. Healthcare providers need to acknowledge risk factors pre-emptively before it becomes a crisis so that those who are at risk can feel empowered to speak up if and when the time comes. They can also arm patients with tools and resources to determine whether they need help and where to go to get it.

The Check-List

The following is a great list from Cancer.net.

If you are experiencing the following, it’s time to follow up!

Mood-related symptoms

  • Feeling down
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling irritable
  • Feeling numb
  • Feeling worthless

Behavioral symptoms

  • Loss of interest in activities that you previously enjoyed
  • Frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends or family
  • Loss of motivation to do daily activities

Cognitive symptoms

  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Memory problems
  • Negative thoughts. In extreme situations, these may include thoughts that life is not worth living or thoughts of hurting yourself.

Physical symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep and stay asleep
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness)
  • Sexual problems, such as decreased sexual desire

Note: The cognitive and physical symptoms listed above may be side effects of the cancer or cancer treatment. As a result, doctors place more emphasis on mood-related and behavior symptoms when diagnosing depression in a person with cancer.

Psychosocial-banner

For more on the Psychosocial click HERE!

Next week is Valentines Day and since we appreciate the unconventional or alternative ways to have conversations and express ourselves, we are counting down some of the best alternative cards for your lover! Whomever that may be….

  For the honest lover <3

 

etsy.com
etsy.com

Buy here.

For the conceited lover <3

etsy.com
etsy.com

For the sneaky lover <3

 

etsy.com
etsy.com

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For the activist lover <3

en.dawanda.com
en.dawanda.com

For the forgiving lover <3

 

etsy.com
etsy.com

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For the organized lover <3

 

etsy.com
etsy.com

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For the messy lover <3

etsy.com
etsy.com

 For the social addict lover <3

papersourcecom
papersourcecom

 For the sarcastic lover <3

 

etsy.com
etsy.com

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For the star struck lover <3

etsy.com
etsy.com

 For the word nerd lover <3

etsy.com
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 For the coy lover <3

etsy.com
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For the corny horny lover <3

etsy.com
etsy.com

For the unicorn lover <3

hellolucky.com
hellolucky.com

ALL THE LOVERS <3

etsy.com
etsy.com

Buy here.

For more on the List click here!

Well, the holidays have come and gone and we’ve all eaten and drank our way to the new year. Now it’s time to buckle up and set our goals for 2017. Eat healthier, drink less, save money and work out more, right?

You’ve seen all the articles on your news feed, “How to save money in 2017” “How to get rock-hard abs in 60 seconds”  “How to make healthy waffles” and “How to have a dry January”. Wait – rewind, “Dry January”? What’s that and why would I give up alcohol during the coldest and darkest month of the year?

Here are 5 reasons why the “Dry January” trend is catching on and why you might want to consider trying it.

Major health benefits + reduced risk of breast cancer

via GIPHY

Did you know that increased alcohol consumption equals increased life-time breast cancer risk? If you’re looking for the honest ugly truth, yes, it does. While even the most stubborn hangover eventually fades, the negative implications of drinking can be long lasting and significant for your breast health.

Re-focus on self-care

via GIPHY

If having a glass of wine (or two) after a long day was your go-to stress reliever, now is a good time to find other ways to relieve stress. Try drinking herbal teas that have great health benefits (hello, glowing skin), reading a good book or take up knitting.

Motivation to make healthier eating choices

via GIPHY

Since you given up drinking for the month, you may find yourself choosing to stay home a bit more than usual. This will free up your time to cook delicious meals and try those yummy looking recipes you pinned last year and never ended up making. It may also mean turning down social opportunities to drink, like at a happy hour with co-workers or a night out with friends. Instead, try filling up your schedule with other activities that give you a natural buzz, like working out, which can also help you flush toxins from your system.

Save Money

via GIPHY

When you’re not spending $15-20 on a bottle of wine once (or twice) a week, that’s a savings of $60/month. You’ve decided to stay in more instead of eating out and drinking, another major savings. By the end of the month you’ll be pretty pleased with the extra money waiting for you in your bank account, and be able to spend it on something more important (insert your favourite charity here😉

Drink more water

via GIPHY

You may find that because you are opting for a glass of water instead of a vodka soda your water consumption will significantly increase. Drinking more water can help with troubled skin, low energy levels, dehydration and so much more. It’s amazing what a little (or a lot) H2O can do.

The final conclusion:

You will definitely see immediate results when participating in “Dry January” but you’ll see the most health benefits if you approach this as a chance to revisit your overall relationship with alcohol. Try to use “Dry January” as a motivational starting point to push your relationship with alcohol into a balanced range, and then stick with it!

For more of the list click HERE.

April 9, 2009 2:20 PM

It happens. Well-intentioned people can say the most astonishingly insensitive things; people in possession of big hearts and sound minds can sometimes be devastatingly negative. Short of punching them in the nose, what do you do?

The other day a dear friend said the following to me:

“I was talking to a client who has breast cancer and I told her about you and she told me it’s really not good when you get it when you’re young, the chances of surviving are really not good! And I said, Oh no, why are you telling me this?!?”

More to the point, why was she telling me this??

Good person, bad judgment.

I tried to brush it off, but the truth is I felt robbed of a lot of the optimism that has carried me through this fight.

I just want to walk away from this time of having breast cancer and never look back. Those words made me feel that I can’t do that.

(My mother texted me after I told her this little tale: “I will kill her with my bare hands and pull her tongue out.” That’s mothers for you – they just rock.)

Today when I went in for treatment I asked my oncologist, who very reasonably told me that there are too many variables and factors in each case to make a generalized statement like that; that there are too many different kinds of breast cancer… That yes, of course I am at greater risk of recurrence (having had breast cancer, having had it travel to my lymph nodes) but that I am being treated “curatively.” Ultimately she can do a statistical analysis of my particular case, but, she explained, the results are just statistical, and many people prefer not to be given those stats. Then I asked her whether I could consider having another child if ovarian function returns — she said I need to consider the probability of recurrence when I make that decision.

For the first time in a long time, I was a mess today. The nurses who have treated me for more than a year were surprised to find me in a tearful heap in my giant recliner as they hooked me up to my IV. Luckily they had pecan pie on hand.

There was no bad news today – if anything my oncologist was reassuring. I’m just having a bad day. A bad cancer day. There are good days and bad days, and this one just isn’t a good one. But in general, I have far more good ones than bad. And maybe tomorrow will be a good day again.

Q: You have made giving back a life/family philosophy in some ways. Why? How does Project Give Back support this philosophy?

A: As a teacher for more than twenty-five years, I have seen what can happen when children share their unique passions. I wanted to help develop empathy and build community minded youngsters as well as open up their eyes to the world around them. Project Give Back was born. It is a passion based curriculum catered to elementary students. Each student chooses a cause that is meaningful to them. This becomes the topic of their year long journey with Project Give Back. The students connect with their cause, research important facts about that cause, develop a speech and then teach their classmates all about the cause that they have chosen. Each student is assigned a time slot when they act as the teacher and we all learn. We learn about the world through a very unique lens.  During that time, they also introduce an activity that the entire class can do to honour and learn more about their chosen cause. Our trained teachers contact each student by telephone before their presentation date to help coach and assist if necessary.  Rich and meaningful discussions take place each week as a new topic is introduced.

Some of the activities include: class visitors of experts in their particular field, arts and craft activities, exercise classes, physical challenges, innovative board games and letters and cards made to children, nurses, doctors etc. Learning is put to action and often this causes a ripple effect outside of the classroom walls.

Children empower one another as they share their own unique struggles, challenges or passions.

Over 1000 students each year teach their classmates about more than five hundred causes. ReThink is one of those causes that we learn about in many classrooms each year due to a family member who is so appreciative for the services that they received.

Q: What is the single most important thing that kids need to know about charities and why giving is important?

A: We can always Re Think about involving our children into our lives, even during difficult times. Our children are more resilient than we think, and the more we let them in, the more prepared for REAL life they can become. I have witnessed this with my own children as they have watched their older brother fight an unfair lifetime battle of facing a neurodegenerative and fatal illness. Instead of shying away from indifference and sickness, they have become patient, caring and non judgmental young adults. Their journey with their brother has awakened their response to act and help others whenever the need arises.

Pink lemonade

Q: When do you feel is the right time to start engaging kids in charity and giving?

A: Children love to help. The more they help the better they feel. It gives them a sense of independence and importance. I feel that allowing children to volunteer at a young age opens the door to a philanthropic future as well as helps to foster caring and compassionate youngsters.

For years we planned a fundraising event solely focussed on this topic, the powers of giving. The weekend long event was called Jake’s Gigantic Give. Together with Mastermind Toys, Spinmaster Toys and The Canadian Group, as well as our family of devoted sponsors and volunteers we set up a massive toy store. Not one toy could be purchased. Instead hundreds of children went on a mission – to create a gift package for another child who isn’t as fortunate! These gift packages were collected by our young guests, wrapped, personalized and then handed to various charities all set up to receive these gifts. As the youngsters handed in their gifts, they were given the opportunity to learn more about where these presents were going. Each child was offered the opportunity to go back into the store to choose one gift for themselves. Many children as young as four years old asked if they could give this present instead to the charity as well.

Q: What are some tips to help parents explain or demonstrate why charity and giving is so important?

A: The best way to teach our children to be givers is to give them the opportunity to watch and learn from their parents. If you are involved and model kindness, most likely you children will follow in your footsteps.

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Q: What are some tools parents and kids can use to start or support their effort to give back?

A: One way to engage our children into the world of giving is to host an EchoAge birthday party. Check out www.echoage.com. This company is a win/ win opportunity for the children involved, the parents planning the party and the chosen cause. Once they have connected with a cause it is important to continue to support this relationship.

For information on how to talk to kids about breast cancer, check out Rethink’s family series