The weeks and months following breast cancer surgery are filled with confusion, anguish, and stress. First, you have to process your emotions as your body undergoes a radical change. Then you’re bombarded with statistics about outcomes and prognoses and have to figure out the best ways to move forward.
Navigating your new reality is bound to feel like a rollercoaster ride. That’s why it’s so important to give yourself some grace and make taking care of yourself a priority during this time.
When I was a corporate exec, “me time” sounded great in theory but between my travel schedule and the long days at the office, it was a rare indulgence. During the recovery process from my BRCA preventative surgeries though, I knew that moving self-love to the top of my to-do list would make a big difference in my overall sense of well-being.
So, how do you practice self-love in your everyday life? Here are 3 tips on how to make yourself your top priority so you can enjoy the recovery process a bit more and feel better faster.
1. Treat Yourself
Self-care isn’t all about bubble baths and mani/pedis but treating yourself to something indulgent from time to time just feels good. Treating yourself doesn’t have to involve an expensive spa day; it can be as simple as picking up a book you’ve had your eye on or buying a new lipstick. Keep in mind though, it won’t feel like a true indulgence unless it’s a little out of the ordinary for you.
What are some of the things you always thought would be nice to do “someday?” Make a list and start checking them off! When I was recovering from my surgeries, I decided to treat myself to regular lymph drainage massages. It felt amazing and lifted my spirits in the process.
2. Prioritize Rest
We live in a culture that glorifies busyness. We wear our crammed calendars like badges of honor. It’s as though the more “stuff” we pack into a day, the more accomplished we feel.
The problem is, adequate rest is especially important during the recovery process and most of us don’t get enough. In fact, according to the Centers For Disease Control, 1 in 3 Americans aren’t getting close to the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night.
One of the best ways you can show yourself some love is to give yourself permission to take a little extra downtime. During my own recovery, I allowed myself to take naps for the first time in my life. The only thing that was missing was cozy yet stylish loungewear, which is one of the reasons I started designing pieces like the ones included in the Eileen & Eva® Heal With Style Beauty Bundle. No woman wants to feel like she has to be stuck in her PJs all day in the name of comfort.
Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep each night can be a challenge when you have drains to contend with and are stiffened with pain, so rest whenever you can without guilt.
3. Take Time to Unplug Each Day
As women with families, careers, and social obligations, our lives are more hectic than ever. And our tendency to take care of everyone else’s needs while pushing our own to the side can lead to a constant feeling of overwhelm.
It’s important to unplug for a little while to give your brain a break. Listen to your favorite music, read a magazine, or curl up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and Netflix–anything that requires very little effort and allows you to zone out.
A favorite part of my post-surgery recovery days was binge-watching all 7 seasons of The Good Wife and tuning into Fixer Upper whenever I could (I’m a big Joanna Gaines fan, what can I say?) It felt really good to have some time each day where I could look forward to not having to think about anything.
What are some of the ways you’ve incorporated self-care into your daily life? I’d love to hear from you–feel free to share some of your own tips in the comments! And if you’d like details on our Heal With Style Collection, click here.