Healthy mind healthy body post cancer

A huge piece of survivorship post cancer is keeping your body and mind healthy. Healthy mind healthy body. This is a constant effort and one that is ever changing. And it is NOT easy! Some days I feel incredibly strong and other days, I feel mushy and weepy. Pair that with being in menopause and it is truly an uphill battle. But I climb the hill. Some days I crawl up that hill and some days I decide to take a timeout and sit for a bit. But my arrow is pointed to the top with the goal in mind.

Research shows that staying active not only benefits your overall health, but it can help boost your mental health and reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. I love these tips that are on the Susan G. Komen page , along with some helpful statistics.

Achieving healthy mind healthy body is the goal, but being active does not mean the same thing for everyone. Being active can be going to a zoomba class or could be going for a walk with your dog. The key is moving your body. Getting your heart rate up and changing your environment. Keeping your mind healthy is equally, if not more important. I know a ton of people who workout every single day, but their anxiety is through the roof. Have you ever been in a really lousy mood and you get some fresh air, sunshine and you can literally feel your mood shift? It is the same with exercising your mind. You need to see the light to get out of a dark space.

Here are some tips that have helped me over the years.

1.) Find things to do that you enjoy that keep you active. This does not have to be in a gym! You may love riding your bike, hiking, dancing or working in your yard. I am ALWAYS so sore after weeding my gardens because I am using different muscles. But it is a GREAT sore and it feels so good at the end of the day. I am a horrible gardener and I kill just about every single plant I bring into this house, but I LOVE getting out in the yard on a spring/summer day, pumping up the music and weeding my gardens. I also happen to love yoga, but it took me a while to find a studio that I really enjoyed. I am not a loud yogi. If you have been to yoga and practiced next to someone doing yoga who lets out a loud “ooooohhhhhm”…then you know what I mean. Honestly, that is not my jam. So, I kept searching until I found a place I love. Find things that are fun. Things you enjoy and get your body moving.

2.) Exercise your mind. As breast cancer survivors, we have ALL had those moments of fear where we are afraid the cancer has come back, the “what if” questions start to creep into our minds and we try so hard to stop Googling our symptoms. Fear is normal! But we cannot get stuck there. Having a strong mind is so important to our health. Find your people or your person. Have someone in your life that can break you out of your funk if you start to go down the rabbit hole. I started saying a morning mantra and I felt so incredibly silly at first, but now…it is part of me. Every morning I get up and I look at myself in the mirror and say, “I am strong. Cancer does not define me.” The other thing is that chemo brain is a REAL thing. Check out this article on the American Cancer Society website. I can relate to so many of these! I still have memory issues to this day and I sometimes struggle to find a word when I am mid-conversation. I have notes upon notes for my to-do lists, I live by my phone calendar and I have daily to-do lists. Keeping our minds strong is more than doing crossword puzzles. Find what works for you and stick to it.

3.) Be realistic and listen to your body. I will never, ever, never, ever ever run a marathon. Could I if I set my mind to it? Sure! But no thank you. That is not for me and I have no interest in running that far unless an animal is chasing me. Celebrate small victories along the way and give yourself some grace if you need to sit on the hill for a bit. I happen to LOVE playing soccer. Last year I decided to play with a co-ed team. I got some new cleats, new shorts and I felt like a million bucks walking to the field. I stretched really well and was ready to go. I went into the game as if I was 23 years old and literally got knocked out and sprained my knee within 5 minutes. It literally did not occur to me that my body could not withstand the same impact from years ago. Am I playing this year? YES! But…on “team old school.”

In conclusion, staying active post-breast cancer is not a nice to have. It is a MUST DO. You own your body. Reclaim it by making it strong and healthy. Being active not only helps reduce our risk of recurrence, but it also helps you THRIVE beyond cancer. Go get it!

Healthy mind healthy body.

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