Motivation for the days when you feel horrible

One of the hardest parts of recovering from surgery, for me, was not being able to move AT ALL for the first few days. My drains were very uncomfortable, it was a process to get dressed for cold weather, my energy levels were low, etc., etc., etc. There was no shortage of excuses, but a big shortage of motivation. To help others experiencing these same feelings, I would like to share a few tips that do NOT include moving to help get you out of your funk when all you want to do is curl up in a dark corner and wait until the clouds have lifted.

Meditation: I will admit, I fell off of the meditation wagon for a bit after my double mastectomy. I had a very consistent meditation routine pre-cancer diagnosis, and I let it slide when my brain was jam packed with information and I had too many decisions to make. As soon as I picked up where I left off with my practice, the stress build-up started to chip away, breath by breath. My teacher, Emily Fletcher of Ziva Meditiation describes beautifully what meditation does to years of accumulated stress. Let’s say you wake up with 10 units of stress. You meditate first thing in the morning for 15 minutes. You’re now down to 9 units. Daily stress brings it back up to 10. You meditate for 15 minutes in the evening, you are back down to 9. A good night’s sleep takes away another unit, and you wake up with 8. You get the idea. Meditating through Ziva technique, twice a day, will consistently detox your body of the daily stressors that prey upon us, and it is so easy (and important!) to do- especially when recovering from the chaos cancer can bring to your daily life! You can find out more, here. This is invaluable, folks!

Essential oils- I did a deep dive into the healing properties of essential oils after my diagnosis and I continue to learn more and more about their healing and therapeutic properties every day! Specifically during recovery, there are wonderful blends you can rub on the bottom of your feet, or diffuse into the air. When a bath is not an option, having a caretaker whip up this body butter to use can be a very relaxing way to ease stress. You’ll need help mixing it if you can’t move and lift your arms yet, but it makes a large supply- this recipe lasts me up to three months! Diffusing uplifting blends are great for energizing a stale environment when you are trying your best to feel upbeat or even get out of bed, and a relaxing blend in a diffuser can lull you to sleep for much needed rest during this time, too. Make sure you do you research on reputable oil companies, as not all essential oils are created equal! I like DoTerra, and have consulted with a friend who sells it and is very knowledgeable about its various uses.

The power of a good book- It’s super easy, and sometimes nice, to binge watch a few seasons of a new favorite show, but its great to switch it up a bit. I set up a cozy chaise lounge by a window with a bunch of natural light and read a couple hours a day. It became an important part of my routine to be somewhere other than the bed or the couch in front of the television. After I started meditating again, I started a book a friend sent me called "The Book of Awakening " by Mark Nepo. He’s a beautiful writer who happens to be a cancer survivor himself, and the daily spiritual devotionals helped me look at the bigger picture and re-center myself when things got overwhelming.

Last, but not least, let your loved ones take care of you! People want to help! Some days I didn’t want to see a soul, but a friend might insist on bringing me a smoothie, or taking me on a drive to get a pedicure. Little acts of love WILL help bring you out of your funk and you’ll be on your way to moving, even if it is just a walk around the block, in no time!

 6 weeks post-surgery Photo cred:  Alison Fopeano

6 weeks post-surgery Photo cred: Alison Fopeano