Practising self-care after breast cancer isn’t always easy, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Here's how Fay describes the experience.
The holidays can be exhausting
I thought I'd feel relieved after treatment, but I felt drained. I was emotionally exhausted. New worries started to creep in, like the fear of recurrence. I struggled most with the side effects of hormone therapy and the physical aftermath of surgery. Despite the fantastic care I received, my body and mind were traumatised. I struggled learning to love the ‘new me’ I'd become.
It can be difficult remembering to practise self care after breast cancer, particularly during busy times, like Christmas. However, it is important to be kind to yourself over the holidays.
Tips for self-care
While it’s never easy to say ‘no’, try to respect your ‘new normal’ and preserve your energy levels. Take a moment to question your plans – are you over committing? It’s easily done, especially if you’ve had to miss out during treatment. And if you’re feeling drained or having an off day, tell your loved ones about it. Most of the time, talking about difficult moments can be a massive relief.
Ultimately, you must prioritise you. Your body and mind are trying to process a massive trauma, and busy times such as Christmas (and the build-up to it) can create pressure. Take those opportunities to enjoy a Christmas film snuggled up on the sofa, a hot chocolate with your friend, or soaking fruit for that epic Christmas cake! Wherever your happy place is, let yourself go there with bells on.
Be yourself and know what you want to do (and equally avoid) over Christmas. I find I'm most content when I relax and give myself permission to be me. If you love the festive season, then deck the halls. If you’re not a fan, do whatever makes you happy. Whatever you do, be yourself.
If your feeling pressured this holiday season, our toolkit has lots of tips on self-care.