Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Making Treatment Decisions

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Making Treatment Decisions | Cancer Support Community Montana

Are you or a loved one wondering about what topics to consider when weighing treatment options and how to prepare for appointments? Join board certified Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner at Bozeman Health Cancer Center, Clarissa Drill, as she shares ways to partner with your healthcare team in making treatment decisions.

4 Wellness Tips for Transitioning into Fall

By: PickyDiet -lifestyle / wellness

Seasonal changes can leave us feeling unbalanced and in need of some extra self-care. We want to incorporate practices that help us balance the qualities of the season to stay healthy and feeling our best.

In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life and medicine, each season has a certain quality about it.

Fall and early winter is characterized as being cold, dry, light, rough, irregular, moving and quickly changing. The weather turns cold, winds blow, and the earth becomes dry, hard and rough. You might notice drier skin, irregular digestion, and the frantic, unpredictable energy of the holidays, which can easily leave you depleted, overwhelmed, and distracted.

We want to balance these characteristics out with opposite qualities of warmth, moisture, nourishment, slowness, regularity and focus.

Here’s what you can do to stay balanced and well this season…

HYDRATE

We are typically focused on hydrating when it’s hot outside, however it is equally (if not more) important when the temps cool down to help balance the dry air. Start your day with warm water and lemon to balance the cool temperatures and hydrate your organs after sleeping. Throughout the day sip on water or warm, clear herbal tea to stay hydrated, energized and keep your skin looking beautiful.

GET GROUNDED

Fall is the perfect time to cultivate some stillness in your daily life. Take time to connect with yourself and try to reduce the amount of rushing, traveling, and running around that you do. This will help balance out the windiness and quickly moving characteristics of fall. Begin to focus your energy inward. Write, meditate, read, practice yoga, take a bath, cozy up with a tea by the fire, breathe!

EAT WARMING, NOURISHING FOODS

Fall calls for nutritious, warm, cooked foods and drinks like stews, teas, soups, and roasted root veggies. Save the salads and cold, light foods for summer. The seasons affect us in how we react to the outside climate and by the foods that are naturally available to us during these times. Fall foods include winter squash, pumpkins, apples, sweet potatoes and root vegetables – incorporate them into your meals to feel balanced. Grounding foods (food that is literally grown in the ground like carrots and sweet potatoes) also give us their grounding energy to help with tip number two. Enjoying a hot mug of turmeric milk or tea is the perfect evening drink to warm and nourish you.

CREATE A RHYTHM IN YOUR LIFE

Sticking to regular meal and bed times create balance and help you feel grounded. Our bodies feel best when we are in rhythm with nature. Aim to go to bed early and wake up early (and at the same time) every day. You will feel better and it will help maintain a healthy immune system. We all need extra rest during times of transition.

Mindful Mandalas Workshop

Mindful Mandalas Workshop Sep-2020 for screens

Click the link above to get started!

About your teacher:

Laura is a self-taught artist, multi-passionate creative, surface pattern designer, and dog momma living in Dallas, TX. She creates art across all mediums (traditional and digital), and you’ll often find her with more paint on herself than on the canvas. She believes deep in her heart that we’re all creative beings, and loves teaching others what she’s learned. Over the past 10 years, Laura has taught more than 120 workshops on everything from Copic markers to watercolor and sewing/fiber arts. When not creating art, you can find her singing and playing piano in her home recording studio (where her dog, Gus, likes to sing along). Laura also lead a workshop at CSCMT’s virtual Mending in the Mountains retreat in September 2020. 

Interested in learning more on creativity from Laura? 

  • Sign up for her newsletter on www.laura-griffin.com to be the first to find out about upcoming live and online classes 
  • Follow her on Instagram @laura_lee_griffin 

Anxiety in the Cancer Experience

By: Grace Van Cleef

My mom has always had a stereotypical “Type A” personality: hardworking, meticulous, and high achieving. Of course, this has been a benefit throughout her life. She holds two and a half jobs, but she loves her work and she tackles each day with spirit. As the choir director/organist of a local church and conductor of a local community choir, she has never had a dull moment.

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5 Facts About Mindfulness for Better Mental Health

Mindfulness is somewhat of a trendy topic these days, but underneath all the publicity it can have profound benefits. Many of us will suffer from anxiety and depression at some point in our lives. Usually they serve as natural reactions to challenges we have to face or problems we need to overcome. However, at points it can feel as though our own minds have turned against us. We can be plunged into our own personal idea of hell as we force ourselves to overthink, dwell on the past, or worry about the future. Mindfulness is a great way to come back to the present and free ourselves from our negative thought patterns.

So What is Mindfulness?

In theory, mindfulness is a pretty straightforward concept. It suggests the mind is fully involved in what is happening, the space around you and anything you might be doing. This would be easy if it weren’t for our mind’s tendency to habitually change direction every few seconds. As our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our surroundings, and soon enough we are engaged in obsessive thought activity that could result in feelings of anxiety or depression.

Below are five facts about mindfulness, explaining how it can help us work towards being the best versions of ourselves.

1. It Frees the Mind

Usually our minds are full of thoughts. We are constantly planning, reflecting, wondering, or worrying about the future. Imagine what we could achieve if we could give our minds a break from these patterns. Mindfulness forces us into the present moment. When we are fully present, our mind is full of experience, and subsequently, there is no room for worrying or self-deprecation. When the mind is free, we are able to get outside our comfort zone to see the world in a new light, uncover new thoughts and cultivate the best version of ourselves.

2. Puts You in Touch with Your Experience

As far as anyone knows, you only have one life to live. This life can be joyful, beautiful and full of wonder – but it is up to you to make it so. If you are walking through the park and your mind is busy running your usual thought patterns, chances are you are going to miss the magic unfolding all around you. Mindfulness is taking time to listen to the birds and see the changing colors of the seasons. It means smelling home-cooked food and really listening to the music that surrounds you. Learning to be in touch with your experience is a valuable lesson. It leads to a rich purposeful life, full of inspiration. Sometimes it may be easier to plug into your smartphone or fill your mind with its usual chatter, but doing so sacrifices your opportunity to connect with the world around you and enjoy the simple things in life. Our lives are not the big events that happen to us, but rather a collection of small everyday occurrences. Learning to find happiness in the small things leads to a more content and joyous way of being.

3. Gives You New Ideas

Beneath the anxieties and stresses that usually encompass our internal worlds, are a plethora of unexplored ideas and visions just waiting to be uncovered and investigated. Practicing mindfulness clears away the mental chatter and makes way for new creativities to emerge. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not a trait or a skill; it is a state of mind. This state of mind comes to us when we our relaxed and inspired. One great way to achieve this is through the use of mindfulness. Mindfulness gives us constant inspiration by allowing us to see the world around us clearly, and it relaxes us by freeing us of our habitual thought patterns. When we are mindful, we can find creative solutions to our problems, become more productive at work, and maybe even find motivation to acquire a new skill.

4. It Involves Curiosity, Openness, and Acceptance

Mindfulness is not just about rooting your mind in the present moment; it is about approaching the present with childlike curiosity and exploring what it can bring you. Sometimes this may be physical, but other times it may be a thought or feeling that arises as a reaction to what is going on around you. It is important to be open to whatever may show up, accepting and listening to what it has to say. In each moment lies hundreds of lessons waiting to be learned, and mindfulness brings us closer to unearthing them.

5. It Improves Your Ability to Focus

The phrase “practice makes perfect” also applies to mindfulness. At first, you may find that you can only stay present for a second or two. This is completely normal. In fact, research has shown that the average ‘uninterrupted now’ moments, typically last between 1-10 seconds. The important thing is – without judgement – to calmly bring yourself back to the present each time you notice your mind has wandered. As you strengthen the muscle of the mind, your ability to focus will also improve. You will notice you have greater control over your concentration, and will be able to divide up your mental energy effectively and accordingly. This will improve your productivity levels, making it easier to hold an engaging conversation or even enjoy a good book.

The best thing about mindfulness is that it is highly accessible. It is completely free and requires no equipment other than yourself. You can practice mindfulness anywhere, at anytime, completely at your own discretion. During wholesome activities such as cooking, reading, walking, or spending time with friends and family, are the best times to cultivate mindfulness. Bring your mind back into reality and focus on whatever task is at hand. Soon, you will feel the pressures and stresses of daily life drift away from you as you fully immerse yourself in the bountiful experience we call life.

 

Supporting a Friend Who Has Cancer

Dr. Lidia Schapira, Cancer.net

If one of your friends has cancer, you may be wondering the best way to support him or her. Even though you want to help, it can be hard to know what to say or do.

It is important to remember that there are no set rules and every friendship is different. Be sure to think about your unique dynamic and let that guide you as you try to support your friend. Keep it simple. Remember that often the little things mean the most.

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