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Getting through the holidays can be really difficult for anyone, but add in a cancer diagnosis, surgery recovery or treatment? Forget about it.
It can be even harder when you find yourself scrolling through your social media feeds only to see everyone else’s sparkly, seemingly perfect holiday highlight reel. Sometimes it seems like everyone else’s lives are filled with perfect non-dysfunctional families, fairy-tale relationships, perfect surgery outcomes and great outfits. All of this scrolling can very easily make your own life, family, relationships and medical situation feel anything from perfect.
To quote our good friend Paige More,
“It’s ok to love the holidays.
It’s ok to hate them.
I’m ok to be happy today.
It’s ok to be sad today.
It’s ok to be ok.
It’s ok to not be ok.”
Follow along with us as we unpack a few helpful ways to get through the holidays with your diagnosis, and hopefully uncover a little bit of December magic along the way!
We LOVE social media, anyone who is part of our beautiful online community knows that! Instagram and Facebook are amazing places to find supportive community, make friends from all around the world going through the same things as you. They’re perfect for finding inspiration, making connections, activism and advocacy work, learning new things and SO. MUCH. MORE. Unfortunately, our favorite platforms have the knack to place an emphasis on our ‘Highlight Reel’ aka the things going well in our lives, like the promotions we got, the scans that were clear, cute new outfits… you know: the fun stuff. When you are laying on the couch by your tree this holiday season, we want to gently encourage you not to compare yourself to others, especially since you’re just seeing a very small, perfectly edited glimpse into their lives. Most people don’t tend to share photos of their struggles, losses, failures, trauma and depression.
If you find yourself feeling low because of your social media feed, we encourage you to take a holiday break from the apps that are making you feel the lowest. Being present is usually the best medicine to combat the mean comparison monster.
Holidays are notorious for over-indulgence, and while we are not here to recommend you stray from eating as many of those Christmas cookies as you want--we’re literally chowing down holiday treats as we write this blog-- we do encourage you to love yourself through a little bit of exercise. As Harvard lawyer (and all-around genius), Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”
Getting your blood flowing and a little sweat dripping is a natural, healthy and free way to burn off the anxiety and stress holidays can bring. Instead of waiting for the new year to get your workout flow going, start slowly this month instead.
Be as kind and gentle with yourself as possible during this time. Start small by taking easy 5-minute walks every day, and increase that time gradually until you can begin jogging. Then slowly build your jogging stamina. Listen to your body, go slowly. Over time you’ll find these little sessions burning more and more stress.
Give yourself a workout confidence boost by wearing one of our go-to AnaOno Sports Bras. Styles like The Paige and Bianca Front Closure were designed to get your post-surgical body moving. Made with ultra-soft breathable materials, these styles will support your foobs, and help you feel like the badass you are while you build your body back up after surgery.
As Paige says, “I feel like getting dressed is half the battle, and once you are in your workout gear you feel good. But if you don’t even feel good getting dressed, you’re not going to feel good in the gym.”
We are huge fans of mindfulness and positive self talk here at AnaOno.
We know it can be easy to drop healthy habits during the holidays due to crazy end-of-year deadlines at work and mile-long holiday to-do lists and holiday parties, but we want to encourage you to embrace a positive message about yourself this month. If you’re struggling to figure out what that would be, consider your positive statement as something you would want others to say to you or the kind words you would offer to another woman who is healing from breast cancer, surgery, experiencing pain, feeling low or struggling to get through the holidays.
Instead of wishing our body, life or circumstances were different, part of the healing process can include taking a positive inventory of the gifts of our body and the wellness we are focusing on bringing to our life. If you are going to create a positive mantra or affirmation, frame the statement in the here and now. For example, rather than saying “someday I will have a perfect life,” try “TODAY MY LIFE IS FULL.”
Using these reaffirming, present-facing statements helps us affirm the message today and now rather than someday in the future. If you create a positive statement or affirmation about your life, practice saying it out loud once or twice a day and this will become a mantra you create for yourself.
We know how hard it can be to get through this time of year, but we want you to know that you are never alone in facing the things you are. There is a whole community of women who are experiencing similar things to you. We want to acknowledge and validate the sadness you may be feeling, but also want to encourage you to focus on the beauty of new beginnings awaiting you in the new year.
We are so incredibly grateful for each and every one of you, and are sending you so much love.💕✨
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Dana Donofree is joined by Dr. Brannon Claytor to answer your questions about the ASPS news that some surgeries are being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Claytor is the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Main Line Heath and owner of his private practice, Claytor/Noone Plastic Surgery.