Running On Empty

Doing Too Much

If you were like me, you were already super busy before cancer entered the picture. Work, raising kids, doing homework and shuttling to and from sports, taking care of the home, meals, shopping… Then a cancer diagnosis threw your already hectic life into chaos.

When this happens, so many of us keep trying to do all the things we were doing before. We just work more, stay up later, get stuff done on weekends. This works for a little while. Until you become so exhausted your energy reserves run dry.

My Story

This is something I struggled with for a LONG time. There is so much that needed my attention. My husband’s cancer made this worse as now we needed to attend appointments together and make treatment decisions. Sometimes he couldn’t do all he was doing and I had to fill in. I started getting chronic insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night even on weekends with my brain racing thinking of all the things I needed to do. I was running myself ragged.

The Kitchen Can Wait

It was our practice to always clean up the kitchen before the end of the night so it would be clean and ready for the next day. My husband did the cooking, so I did the cleaning. The end of the night was always when I was most tired and cleaning the kitchen started becoming simply too much. Until it dawned on me. I don’t have to clean the kitchen! This is something that does not HAVE to get done. The world will not implode. Instant relief! This change in thinking saved me and I started asking myself what else was not necessary.


Dealing with cancer will take up a lot of time and energy, both emotional and physical. You simply can not keep doing everything you were before. If you try, you will run yourself thin and will not be able to be there when the family needs you most. The best part here is the action of “doing it all” comes from your thinking. You can change your thinking!

Take a fresh look at all you have going on in your life and decide consciously what can go. This is how you start to constrain, and its hard, but necessary. Take a hard look at how truly important everything is. Do your kids needs to be in three different sports? How can you simplify meal time? Do you need to limit the hours you put in at work? These are all questions that will help you identify your thinking about what is important.

Start With One Day

Identify the three most important things you need to do today.  Only three!

Everything else can either wait or is not important. Re-schedule it or eliminate it.

Try this one day to just make sure the world doesn’t explode if things go undone. This is a skill you have to build. It will be easy to fall in the trap of trying to do it all. You have to constantly be aware of your thinking to see when you are trying to cram it all in.

Cancer treatment can be a long journey and you will need to build your resilience. Come work with me and I’ll teach you more ways to build your resilience and get your life back!

One thought on “Running On Empty

  1. Keeping it simple, do just 3 things, aides focus on what matters most,l.. great advice! Thank you ! Dixie La Grande

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