Each year, as December 31st approaches, people start talking about goals, especially fitness-related ones. I feel everyone has the best intentions, including myself, to lose the weight, eat clean, or detox. I like to sit down with my cancer Warriors and have a goal-intention setting night. After cancer, your body has the innate ability to detox itself and rejuvenate to healthy again, but it needs help from you both mentally and spiritually.
Let’s talk about a mental detox for a second. For a survivor this might be the biggest thing to overcome: the aches, shooting pains, the fear and anxiety that comes along with the word Cancer itself, and the “what if” questions. What if it returns? Why do we think this way; why not change our vocabulary and mental state to gratitude? Why not make goals to stop ourselves when we start to drift into the that fearful state? It’s hard, but maybe setting a goal to practice this type of mindful thinking one day at a time is the way to mentally detox.
Most survivors also end up with the notorious chemo belly, so maybe the goal is not to lose weight but just to tone the belly. Setting the goal to attend a gentle fitness class twice a week is realistic. Then after 30 days, increase the goal to four times a week, etc. When you start with a few days and book it like an appointment, after 30 days it will become a habit. Join a breast cancer survivors’ group and ask others to help keep you accountable; you will be glad you did. Place it on your calendar like any other appointment and respect that time. Remember you are the most important person for whom you need to care.
So many times, after cancer I hear stories of survivors who try to go back to their normal routines in life. My philosophy: don’t go back – it wasn’t working then, so why would it work for you now? Use what you learned during your cancer treatments: self-care, slow down, enjoy the little things, don’t sweat the small stuff, and live in the moment. If it is better nutrition you seek, then set goals with your family to meal prep a few times a week. Start by picking a night to do this, make 3-5 easy and interchangeable meals. It will not only be healthy for you and them, but a fun family bonding time, making conversation and connecting with one another, without electronics.
Let’s talk electronics for a moment. Detox from those as well – no emails, social media, games, or even checking the news. Studies prove that all these things can make you more anxious, and we could all use a detox from anxiety. Set the goal for an electronics detox for a few hours, then half a day, then building up to a full day, and maybe even take your email off your phone. Use that extra time that you normally scroll through social media to re-connect with family, friends or use it as downtime and self-care. You will be glad you did. Send me your goals and let’s keep each other accountable together. Have a very happy season and a blessed New Year.
Shay Moraga is an E-RYT500 yoga instructor, lululemon Ambassador and triple negative breast cancer survivor whose mission is to inspire, empower and educate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (760) 895.1705.