When you live with someone battling cancer – you worry. You worry about treatment options, doctor appointments, getting things done, creating little moments of normal, seeing your loved one sick…there are times the worries seem endless. Thoughts pop while I’m driving, hiking with the dogs, working, even sitting outside enjoying a few minutes of solo time. Early morning is prime-time for the worry show as the house is quiet, the dogs are fed and my cup of tea is made. The moment just before the day starts, that’s when my worries kick into full gear.
I worry about…
- seeing him in pain
- watching him lose weight
- a super active guy, now lying in bed for hours
- the loss of our future dreams
- feeling sad
- hope – do I have enough? am I being realistic?
- accepting that this IS happening
- his wishes and whether I’m supporting them
- having a plan
- knowing what to do when he’s not here
- the future – without him
- feeling lonely
- celebrating and honoring the time we have together
Tea time 6:30am.
I asked my therapist for a tool to keep these worries from invading my every day. She recommended I invite them for tea 3-5 minutes daily to listen to and acknowledge the worries. The concept is called a “worry appointment”.
Basically, my worries are like a 3-year old toddler in my head that isn’t feeling heard. This little one is persistently nagging for the gummy bears in the check out line. And every time I give in, it’s taking me away from more productive thinking.
The goal of the worry appointment is to give my worries a few minutes of my time every day. Once they’re on the table and heard (note: I didn’t say solved) I get on with my day.
3 Easy Steps To Keep Worries In Check
- The worry appointment must be at the same time every day to create stability; otherwise, the little one starts to get nervous and jerky as they aren’t sure when they will be heard. You can list your worries in your head, write them down or say them out loud. Whatever your preference.
- Set the stopwatch for 5 minutes. If one day you get all of the worries out at 3 minutes, don’t stop. Keep at it and get everything out – be dramatic.
- If a worry pops into your head later in the day, throw up the STOP sign and invite it to teatime tomorrow. Late attendees are no longer welcome. They are only allowed during the scheduled meeting time.
IMPORTANT: Where people go wrong (and I can validate this happens), is that they stop after 3-4 days when they feel less worried. If this happens, get back on schedule with a time that works.
Have A Persistent Worry? Tell It To Come Back Tomorrow!
I set the timer for 5 minutes every day. I download what’s in my head and give it the time it deserves. Once the 5 minutes is over, I remind myself that I’m trying my best to handle this challenging situation with grace. Then, I find it’s easier to shift gears to something more enjoyable and productive. If a worry creeps in while hiking the dogs, I tell it to come back tomorrow (sometimes I need to tell it a few times – stubborn thing).
How do you address worry in your life?