The 3 Most Realistic Ways to Get Motivated When You Feel Like Giving Up
At the time of writing this, its been 3 weeks since I finished my last chemotherapy treatment - no more! However, my last 2 treatments (total of 6 weeks) threw my hemoglobin off by 30 to 35%, according to the oncologist, and exerting myself (like walking, climbing stairs) has been a struggle.
Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs and transports it to body tissue. Therefore, if my hemoglobin is reduced, oxygen is not reaching my legs fast enough which causes my heart to pump faster.
To make you understand how it feels when I exert myself, five minutes of walking or climbing a flight of five stairs is similar to running until the lactic acid in the legs have built up and its difficult to go on anymore.
With the lack of movement, I've gained weight over the last 6 weeks.
As humans, our emotions get the better of us, don't they? When I worked out previously I'd feel energized, healthy and happy. These last 6 weeks, I've had to deal with a myriad of emotions - frustration, unhappy about my pants being tight, irritated at myself for being slow instead of the usual fast, and less energetic.
Everyone says, “You got to take it easy."
What do I tell my mind – which is feeling like it can take on the world, but the body is slowing it down?
I tell myself every day that I have to be patient with my body and I even promised myself that when I hit the 3-week mark after my last chemo (this where the white blood cells start to rise) I'm going to start exercising very slowly. In fact, my oncologist encouraged it.
The day arrived and I went on the elliptical, put the timer on for 15 minutes and started at a very low pace. It was difficult and I had to stop every 2 minutes to take a rest and a sip of water.
The next day, I went on for 20 minutes and again I had to stop every 2 minutes to take a rest, in total 40 minutes!
I know I’m not going to shed weight at this rate, but I noticed I started feeling happy and healthy.
Research has shown that exercise improves mental health and is great for individuals who suffer from depression.
For the last month, I was feeling negative and started to hate the situation I was in. I completely lost sight of how chemotherapy is helping kill cancer cells. Then I remembered that it's up to me to take control of my thoughts and HOW I react to the situation.
I could have given up (In fact, I was very close to it) after being on the elliptical for 5 minutes by saying, “This is too hard, I can’t do it.” But I didn’t, I persevered
I persevered for 3 reasons:
1. It was important for me to keep the promise I made to myself. When you make a promise, or write a task you’re going to achieve that day and you don’t, you’ve just sent a message to your subconscious mind that it’s okay to self-sabotage yourself. This then becomes a habit. I didn’t push my body over the limit because I knew I could only do 2 minutes at a time, but I completed the 15 minutes I had promised myself.
2. I could hear my oncologist’s voice in my head saying, “Zaheen, if you don’t start exercising now, including strength training, it’s going to be harder down the road.” Hearing his voice in my head kept me going because I’d rather suffer now than when it’s too late. Do you have a mentor or friend you look up to? What would they say to you when you feel like giving up?
3. Watching YouTube videos on motivation and inspiration is one way that keeps me going. I love the channels: Chispa Motivation and Be Inspired and here is one of the videos that just keeps you going when you feel like giving up:
There’s a great quote that states:
If you can’t change it, then change the way you think about it.
That’s exactly what I did using the 3 strategies above. Have you changed the way you react to a situation lately?