Recently while coaching someone who was feeling low I was able to reflect on my own breast cancer journey. Now, did she have reason to feel down? Sure! She had finished chemo and still had no hair, she had just had a double mastectomy and was in a lot of discomfort and she still had radiation and reconstruction surgery to “look forward to”. As I was supporting her I was talking to myself as well (funny how that works) and here are a few of my top tips:
1. Tough girl is good because it shows resilience and that fighter instinct but not if you are ignoring or glossing over the feelings and fears you may be having. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone, you just need to know you are giving your 100% best on any given day
2. You do not have to protect others from how you are feeling and what is going on for you. Those who are truly important and your greatest cheering section are there for all of it: the good, the bad and the downright ugly
3. Take the time to acknowledge what you have been through, congratulate yourself and then keep going
4. There is no point looking back – it won’t change it. Forward focus knowing the roller coaster ride will stop eventually
5. Practice daily gratitude
The reason I refer to this as baby steps is that any small step you take will be moving you forward towards that moment when you realize your attitude has changed, your health has changed, and what you value may also have changed. Be gentle with yourself and still take that first step…and then the next…and the next.