#305 Simplifying Life After Breast Cancer to Increase Joy

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One of the most important, and most challenging things around the holidays is to remember that self-care is a priority. 

Traditions can be fun and comforting, but they can also be burdensome and overwhelming. 

This episode is a gentle reminder that things don’t have to be the way they’ve always been if it isn’t working for you anymore. 

It might be time to remember that the most important thing at the holidays or any day is you and your presence. 

Is it time to let some things go? 

Is it time to ask yourself what it is that you truly enjoy? 

Is it time to simplify your life so you can be more present for the things and the people that you truly enjoy? 

Listen now and create more space for joy in your life. 

Referred to in this episode: 
Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership  

90 Days of Wellness  

Becoming You 2.0  


Read the full transcript below: 

Laura Lummer 0:00
Hey friends. Before we jump into this episode, I just want to let you know that because of some exciting changes coming up in 2024, two of my standalone programs are going to be retired from the standalone category and they're gonna live inside my better than before breast cancer membership. So of course, those people who've already purchased the programs will have lifetime access. But if you always wanted to join 90 days of wellness and just haven't pulled the trigger, or you've always wanted to explore becoming you 2.0 And take the first steps to recreating the life you want to live after breast cancer, now's the time to do it. These programs will be accessible on their own until January 15 2024. After that they'll only live inside the better than before breast cancer membership. So click on the links you'll find where you listen to this podcast, or go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com and click on coaching and programs to grab one of these very valuable programs while you can. Alright, let's get into the show you're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life, that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started.

Laura Lummer 1:39
Hello, thank you so much for joining me for episode 305. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And I am so glad that you're here with me today, taking a little break, do a little something for yourself. Because this show comes out on Friday, just three days before Christmas, here in the US or if you celebrate Christmas. But regardless if you celebrate Christmas or not. Throughout our lives, there are lots of gatherings that are special to us, that may have traditions that surround them. And that we might also make really stressful when we don't have to. So I hope that sharing this episode with you that by the end of it, maybe you can make things a little easier on yourself, whether it's for Christmas, or any other time during the year. I want to share with you some of the things that I've realized and give you a couple of tips for simplifying traditions or holiday expectations, simplifying them so that they're still beautiful and full of joy, that you actually get to be present. And that you actually enjoy them rather than feel stressed and exhausted by them. So I think back on when I was a kid, and I'm one of six children. And any time people were coming over anytime the family was getting together, which obviously there's eight of us to start with. And then my grandparents might come over or aunts and uncles or cousins or anything like that, that I just remember my mom being so stress, never sitting down to enjoy the meal with us because she was always up getting something for somebody or finishing something off. And I can remember my dad all the time saying yanti just down. I can remember as kids, we were always waiting for mom to finish something else. And all we wanted was attention, right mom come and sit down. But she was always trying to make everything the way she wanted to be, which was lovely, right? She wanted to make everything the way she thought everyone would enjoy it the most. She wanted to create that experience and take care of everybody. And in her telling herself what it was she needed to do in order to create that experience. She would stress herself out, right? She would be exhausted. And then she would be kind of I don't know, Cranky sometimes. Right? It wasn't that pleasant. And then I remember when my kids were little, and I think back and I reflect on all the things I had to do to make the experience special right. decorating the tree had to have certain elements and hot chocolate and it's a wonderful life playing and all the things had to be just right in and although I do no crafting of any kind now, making special ornaments when they were little, you know, crafting Christmas ornaments is probably why I don't do anything like that now because I used up all the skill I had when they were little. But it was a lot of work. Right? I was constantly staying up late at night getting up early in the morning, trying to do the things that I thought not and I say very specifically that I thought because they didn't necessarily create the feeling I wanted to create for other people. They created it for me right they created that feeling for me like I I'm doing this. And I want it to land like that, but who knows how it landed. And one thing that comes to mind is, I love baked apples. And I think baked apples smell amazing. And just the experience of eating a perfectly cooked baked apple and the cinnamon in the butter. And it's just warm and delicious and cozy. And so I decided, you know, I'll create this tradition out of making baked apples. And I did that for a long time. And I almost always ended up frustrated, because you know what, my kids didn't want to eat baked apples, and then texture issues. Some reason though, in my head, I thought it was so important that I would delay Christmas morning, right and the experience, they really want to, which was me sitting my butt down next to them so they can open presents, because they had to have the baked apples. And I don't really make baked apples anymore to have it in yours. But I thought that that was something that had to happen. And everything really started to shift, I think, during my first chemotherapy treatment during my first diagnosis, because I was at the end of chemotherapy. And if you've been through chemotherapy, you know that it's a cumulative effect. And by the time you're at treatment, number six, you are not feeling great at all. And that's what was happening in December of 2011. I in fact, can remember that I almost didn't get to take that last treatment on time, because my white blood cell count was so low. They had me on prophylactic antibiotics, which now I look back, I'm just shocked that I did that. So I was wiping out my immune my gut microbiome, my immune system and hoping that I wouldn't get sick. I mean, oh my gosh, whatever. So I remember though, in that month, at first, I was feeling bad, feeling guilty, because I knew I could not do Christmas, the way I'd always done Christmas. And I didn't like that, right. I didn't want that. But it was true. There was no way I didn't have the energy. I didn't have the state of mind. I've gotten through Thanksgiving, and I can distinctly remember going out and shopping for a Christmas tree that year. And I was with my now husband, then we were dating. And I remember him talking to me, like, explain to me something not menswear thing. But asking me like my opinion or something. We're looking at Christmas trees. And I just remember thinking, I think I'm gonna fall over. I think I I can't even make sense. I don't even understand what he's saying to me right now at such intense brain fog. And I was pushing myself really just to be there to be able to be there with them and the experience of picking up the tree and I thought, I hope I can make it out of here without passing out. Yikes. That's horrible, right? Why would I have done that to myself. I did that to myself, because I believed that doing all the things I always did was what made Christmas. But what made Christmas was me being there. Me being present, me being able to sit with the people, I love listening to them, and just enjoying them and enjoying each other. And because I could not do the things I normally did that year, it became an experience that was very liberating. Because guess what happened? Everyone still had a great time. Everyone still enjoyed Christmas, there was no problem. There was no trauma, there was no resentment. I did as much as I could do. And it was all fine. And when I got on the other side of that, it was like this relief, right, this release that I looked at and thought, Wow, all the little things that I did that I ran around that I stayed up late at night that I had an aching back over that made me so tired, he really didn't matter. Because all I had to do was show up, right and be there we all figured out how to have a great Christmas together anyway. Now I am in no way shape or form telling you don't do things you enjoy doing. Don't do things that are really important to you. But what I offer you in this episode is to think about what you do actually enjoy. Because something that I discovered was that I was doing some things I didn't really like doing around the holidays. And then if I let those go, and I still did the things that I thought were really important to me that I really did enjoy. It got a lot simpler, and everyone was just as happy. And not only that, is it gave other people opportunities to do things they enjoyed as well. Right? So if I didn't have to take care of everything, then I could ask what is important to you Would you like to bring what would you like to offer? What would you like to do? And then the experience became more of a group experience, right than something that was just orchestrate. I didn't have to host Christmas for my family, I got to be in Christmas with my family. Something else that changed during after that time after that first Christmas, was that I realized that Christmas sometimes was really frustrating. Because my kids were getting older. And this friend wanted them to come over or I was divorced from their dad. So they had to see that grandma or their aunt or see their dad or whatever, right? They had to run all around on Christmas, or on Thanksgiving, or any holiday that it was right. And I started to think this isn't fun. Like, who likes to be stressed and running around and feeling obligated to eat four different meals throughout the day, right? And when I looked at that, I thought, okay, I don't want to fight over who gets to be with the family at Christmas, because you only have two hours for this house and 45 minutes for that house. Why do I have to do it on that day? Why don't we do our family Christmas on a different time, right. And what I end up doing, as I said, I have a large family, I'm one of six children. And so we decided to do our big family, the total family I call it the macro Christmas with everybody included. And we did that a week before the holiday for both Thanksgiving and for Christmas. So then when the micro holiday came up there little special family unit could just have a cozy day by themselves doing whatever they wanted. And you know what, it was beautiful. Everybody loved it. Everybody's a cut is so much easier now. And really, that's all this episode is about? What can you do to make like, easier on yourself this holiday? But every day? What do you do? And what do you put yourself through, because you're telling yourself a story, it has to be done for other people. And maybe it doesn't, maybe you can let it go. I'm really big into letting things go right now, the last couple of months and my better than before breast cancer membership. We've been working on manifesting what you want in life. And in order to manifest what you want in life, you've got to let go of the things that stop you from doing that. Right. So when it came to the holidays, what I wanted was more joy, more time with the people I loved with my sisters, with my children with my granddaughter. And I realized that if I simplified what I believed created the Christmas experience, I could be in the Christmas experience. And I see this happen with so many women, my friends, my clients. And my I think my family has gotten a lot better at it because all of us have kind of leaned into simplifying things, since we kind of transformed the way we celebrate our holidays. And it's been really lovely. But I hear a lot of women doing things where they're totally stressing themselves out where I'm hearing people say to me, I haven't even slept or I only slept for a couple of hours because I had to get all this stuff out. And when I say why, why did you have to get all this stuff out? The response is often, because that's what I've always done. Because that's the way I do Christmas. But if you let go of that idea, if you just wiped that off the table, and you started over today, and you ask yourself, what's really important to you today, when it comes to times that you have a chance to connect with the people you enjoy? What's really important? Would that change? Would that change no matter what the holiday is? No matter what the timing is, no matter what day it is? Could you simplify life? Could you release some of the beliefs that aren't really true? But you've told yourself, you have to do these things to stress yourself out and exhaust yourself in doing them so that someone else could have the experience you're trying to create. I recently came back from Florida where we visited my husband's youngest daughter and she's got three children. And you know, their little kids, their one year old baby is one and then the other one is seven and the other one is nine. And you would think this is all about having a boatload of gifts under the tree. But what happened is last year when we were out there, I said hey, how about this? How about if I each give you a if I give each of you a certain amount of money, and we go and you get to pick whatever you want. And we draw names and we do Secret Santa. And they were totally in they thought Secret Santa was the coolest thing. They loved having their own money. They loved buying a gift for the person whose name they drew. And they were so excited last year that by the time we finished doing our secret santa when we got home The little one, she said, Can we do it again, right? The six year old, she's like, can we go do it again, right now she want to go back to the mall and buy something else. She loved it. And for weeks before we went out there to celebrate with them, she kept saying she's so excited for Secret Santa. And you know what, it's just easy. Like we have a wonderful day together, we get up, I take them out for doughnuts, we go shopping, we come back, they're so excited to run off and wrap their gifts, they come back, everybody opens a gift. And they are ecstatic because they got to give something special to the person that they care about. And of course, they got a prize, too. And that's it. It's like the easiest Christmas ever so simple. Now, before we did that, I was always thinking, Oh, I've got to get all these things ready ahead of time. And then thank God Amazon stepped in. And then I'd pay extra to add Amazon Gift wrap. And I think all kids like to have more things under the tree. But they didn't want to have more things they wanted to participate. And they just wanted to be there with us in it was so much fun. So as I record this episode, as I'm sitting here, and I'm thinking about, I have several days left until Christmas, every single day that it's gotten closer to Christmas, something else has come off my list. Something else I've looked at and said, You know what? That's not necessary. You know what, I don't have time to wrap all that stuff and ship all that stuff. I'm going to Venmo them. You know, I just think of ways to let myself off the hook for thinking that I can create an experience for someone else. Because the single most important thing is just being together. It sounds cliche, maybe. But it's absolutely 100% True. I have adult children now. And when I say to them, Hey, what do you guys want to say we just want to be together, right? We're going to come over, we're going to have a meal together. That's all we want. That's all we need. And I wanted to talk about that a little bit on this episode. Because if you're going through treatment, and you're guilting yourself, and you're feeling like you just can't do it all and that you're disappointing or letting someone down. I just offer that to you to let it go. To let yourself realize that you are the gifts and everything. That's it, you're everything. If you're not in treatment, if you're just tired, if you're living a busy life, and who isn't living a busy life, if you're doing things because you've always done things in as you're doing and thinking God, I really don't like doing this. Give yourself permission to let it go. Give yourself permission to be honest with yourself. And if someone else thinks that the thing you're letting go is so important, fantastic. It gives them a chance to pick it up and carry on that tradition that's really meaningful and important to them. So in us letting things go, we give a great opportunity to someone else to create what they like in their life and for their special day or for the time they're connecting to their loved ones. So really, this is just a happy holiday message. And a reminder that self care is always important. Don't put it off, don't think I can go back and take care of myself after the holidays. You can take care of yourself. Now. You can stop and think what's really important here, you can let go of things and watch what happens. The magic of letting go. And being in the moment where somebody might say, wait, we're not going to do that thing that we've always done. And you say no, not this year. Okay, and it moves on. And we find this amazing freedom in creating space, and having time and being calm and not having a giant disaster to clean up afterwards or anything like that. So I'll leave you with the wish for the happiest holidays with the priority of just being present in your day with yourself with the people that you love. giving yourself permission to relax, giving yourself permission to enjoy giving yourself permission to let go of stress and remembering that if you're feeling stress is because of what you're making something mean. What are you making it mean to you? And how can you change that so you can get back to the feeling you want to have as you enjoy your loved ones this holiday season. All right friends, enjoy. Relax, eat drink, be merry. And I'll talk to you again soon. Take care

Speaker 1 19:31
courage to the test laid all your doubts your mind is clearer than before your heart is full and wanting more your futures given all you know has you been waiting



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