We know that lots of Trekstock's community of young adults living with and beyond cancer are currently strictly self-isolating for the next 12 weeks during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. We've asked our community to share their tips and plans to stay positive and sane during these extraordinary times. Next up, it's Susannah.

I have been using my time in isolation to learn to be still. All my life I have been a ‘rusher’; too many things to achieve and not enough time to achieve them. And then when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer in September, as well as this, I completely lost the ability to focus on anything – so my ‘rushing’ kind of got even worse and perhaps, even more manic. Because I couldn’t focus on anything, I tried to fill my day with tasks and chores and physical challenges to distract me – only they didn’t, not really: my brain was constantly going at a million miles an hour. What if? What if? What if?

And then following my surgery, when I was unable to do distract myself ‘physically’, I turned to social media, online news and TV to distract me. Only it didn’t, and on top, it just made my ability to focus worse.

So I decided something needed to change; and what better time to try?

I started by deciding that every day I should get dressed straight away – now, apart from my really bad chemo days, instead of sitting about in my dressing gown, flitting through social media aimlessly, I head straight out for a dog walk, or more recently a little run, using the BBC’s Couch to 5K app. I was a keen runner prior to my diagnosis, so getting back to this has been a huge boost to my confidence.

My next challenge was my brain: How could I get it to stop flitting from thought to thought, scenario to scenario? So I looked to yoga and meditation. I found plenty of Yoga videos on YouTube – I particularly recommend 30 days of Yoga with Adrienne (I am now on day 23 as I have to fit it around my chemo) and I downloaded the Headspace App (thankyou Trekstock).

I had started attending yoga prior to my surgery, so I was already aware of the power it had to force me to stop and just tune into my body, but Headspace was a bit of a revelation. It builds your skills up very slowly, helping you control invasive thoughts for longer and longer periods – you can then use those skills at other times – lying awake at night for example.

And I started writing a blog about my experiences. Not only has this helped get my thoughts out of my head –but because I have to then put them into some kind of order that is easily digested by others, it has helped me take back some control as well. You can read my blog at letstalkaboutpoo.com.

And through these steps, I was finally able to focus on something long enough to start reading fiction again.

So, yes being in isolation has its challenges: The hardest part? Coming out of it to attend my blood tests and chemo treatments. But it has also given me the space to learn to be still again: to control my thoughts and choose to feel calm.