Your Road Map to Recovery


Controlling Your Environment

Where you live and work and the people you associate with, can have an effect on your health both physically and emotionally. You have the power to control your environment and remove emotional and physical stressors, however the key is to be able to identify what those triggers are and then do something about it.

As we discussed previously, it’s important to remove things from your environment, whether that be at home or work, which regularly exposes you to toxins such as chemicals or fumes which could be harmful to your health.

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In addition, if your work is a source of constant stress to you, try asking to be transferred to a less stressful position, or take a break so that you can focus on restoring your health. Stress can have a significant negative effect on your health and recovery. If work stress is completely unavoidable, try learning how to manage it better. You might want to try taking up meditation, seek counselling, try breathing exercises or yoga.

Whether you have cancer or are just trying to maintain a good level of general health, exercise is a great way to destress and get endorphins, the feel-good hormone flowing. However, too much exercise can create unnecessary stress on your body and can hinder your recovery. If you are currently battling cancer, try keep your exercise to no more than 60 minutes per day.

If you know you are a sucker for junk food or alcohol, don’t have it easily accessible in your environment. Remove it from your fridge/pantry at home or draws at work. Sounds simple, but there are going to be times when you might be bored or just feel like something like some chocolate, and if it’s just sitting in your draw at work when you reach for a pen, you are likely to pick it up and eat it.

If you have to leave the house to buy junk food or ask someone to get it for you, there is a chance for you to apply logic to the emotional response and be less likely to follow through. We’re not saying you can never eat chocolate again, but during your recovery, it is important to ensure you are eating only foods which will nourish and heal you from within.

Let your family know that you will not be storing junk food in the house and if they want to eat it, do it away from you. Control your environment before your environment controls you.

If you know that you are likely to forget to have your juices and green smoothies, leave the juicer or blender on your countertop so every time you walk past it you are reminded.

If you find that you don’t have the energy to cut the veg to juice, when you have the energy or someone that can help you, cut a heap in advance and store them in the fridge in glass containers or zip lock bags, rather than having to cut veg every time you need a juice.

If you like to drink alcohol or are trying to give up smoking, don’t hang around with people who like to smoke and drink or go to places where you might be tempted to indulge.

If you know you struggle to get out of bed in the mornings to exercise, leave your workout gear on your dressing table, lay your shoes out and have your water bottle ready so it makes it harder to make excuses not to go.

Emotional stressors are just as damaging as external and internal toxins. Seeing someone on a regular basis that you have issues with, can be very emotionally draining and stressful. Unnecessary drama can play on your mind and even affect sleep and recovery. It can be very therapeutic and beneficial to clear any bad air you have with anyone. This is a time to be forgiving and not to be holding on to issues which may fester within you. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with your enemies but clearing the air and letting go will do both you and the person concerned a lot of good.

Be selective about how you spend your time and energy and prioritise how and who you spend it with. This might mean removing yourself from work or avoiding situations or events where you may experience unnecessary stress. Get comfortable with saying NO to people and stop participating in things which do not bring you joy. Do not spend time or give energy to people who are negative; or do not understand your journey. It is ok to be a little bit selfish with your time.

Stop trying to take care of everyone else and allow people to look after you. Without your health, you are not able to look after others.

If you are spending a lot of time at home, it’s important that your surroundings make you feel relaxed and do not invoke a response of discomfort or stress within you. If there is clutter everywhere, multiple unfinished tasks or maybe an annoying leaking tap that has needed fixing for months, you are going to feel restless in a place where you should be able to relax and focus on your recovery.

If you don’t have the energy to get your house in order, ask a family member or friend to help. It is very difficult to maintain an organised life and focus on healing if your surroundings are chaotic.

Everything you can do to ensure your environment, whether it be your home, work or car is not only a stress-free environment but also helpful to your goal of sticking to your commitments and new formed habits, will make a huge difference to your recovery.

Control your environment before your environment controls you.