#313 The Truth About Breast Cancer and Self-Care - It Isn't All About Bubble Baths

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The truth about self-care after breast cancer is that it doesn’t have to be luxurious or expensive. In this episode, we’ll explore the fundamental acts of self-care—like getting enough sleep, nourishing your body with whole foods, and staying hydrated—and how they can truly make a difference in your overall well-being as a survivor. 

With just 168 hours in a week, prioritizing self-care and making conscious choices to care for yourself is a precious task. Allow me to bust the myth that you don't have time to exercise, eat right, or practice self-care. Trust me, you can fit it all in! 

To help you overcome the time crunch, I’ll provide you with practical tips and strategies for incorporating self-care into your daily routine.  

I want you to understand that taking care of yourself isn't selfish—it's essential. You deserve to prioritize your well-being. 

This episode is loaded with practical advice, and a whole lot of love. So make sure to hit that play button and join me for a journey towards self-care as a breast cancer survivor. 


Referred to in this Episode: 

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership 

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Read the full transcript below:  

Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hey, friends, welcome to episode 313 have better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm very excited to dig into our topic today. I want to start off by sharing a little story with you of how this came up. And I've been giving a lot of thought. So recently, my second oldest son turned 40. We had a party for him, families and friends who I consider family it was really, really lovely day. And one of the most special things about it is that my son whose birthday it was, and then my youngest son, they both live in Colorado, so they flew out for the party. This is the first time since the two of them moved Colorado that I bought all four kids home with me at the same time. I've seen my son's and you know, everybody's kind of exchanged. Maybe two or three of the kids have been with me, this is the first time all four bores me. So it was really cool, very special, make my heart very happy. My youngest son was able to stay a little bit young longer. I had a couple more days with him, he brought his new girlfriend out, we got to meet her very, very nice. So my youngest son and his girlfriend and I are going to lunch one day, and my youngest son has struggled on and off throughout his life with depression, sometimes really scary, serious and sometimes mild. But what we know to be true for him is that the more he eats good healthy food, right if he stays away from processed food and junk food, and he eats a very well thought out whole food diet and exercises regularly. He does incredibly well. Right, he has over his the course of his lifetime been able to get off medications because of following a very well thought out healthy lifestyle approach. And when he slides back from that, or things get in the way of that things don't go so well for him, and he's not feeling really good. So here we are, we're having lunch or talking about what's going on with them in their lives. And they're both very busy. They live in Aspen, Colorado, it's an expensive place to live, they live there because especially he lives there because he loves snowboarding and wants to be able to snowboard. So they both work very, very hard. And my son works two jobs actually just to make ends meet. And as we're talking about that, and he started to discuss a little bit of the emotional struggles he's been going through, I started to ask him about what he's eating, and how much he's working out and how much he's exercising. And you know how when you feel overwhelmed, you're doing so much stuff. And you know, you want to be doing something more to take care of yourself. You feel a little defensive, right? And people like your mom, hello, me pop in and say, Well, are you taking care of yourself? Are you eating? Well, are you actually mom, I barely have time to sleep, right? I get up at this hour and I work this job and then I go straight to the other job. And then that takes all night long. We don't have time, we can't do this. So I want to share that story with you. Because that is not something that is proprietary to my son. This is a mindset that many of us have. Our lives can be busy. And we tell ourselves, I don't have time for that. When it comes to coaching people through beginning an exercise program, beginning to modify their diet in any way. This comes up a lot. I don't have time.

Laura Lummer 4:13
And I am going to offer this thought to you right now. You don't have time not to do these things. Right? Eating well, moving your body every day. They are the they have to be the priority. So if your story is I don't have the time as my son wasn't. He's very busy. He works a lot of hours. This is true. But we continue that conversation and I asked him Honey, let's say that you have everything is going on that you have going on right now. If there was something you could do to fit out a workout three times a week. What would that look like? How could you make that happen? One of the objections he had was not only do I work this amount of time, but when I'm off, I want to see my friends and I want to be with my girlfriend. So the two of them were sitting with me and said, what would it look like? If the two of you because it's equally as important for your girlfriend as it is for you to take care of yourself? If you guys could do that, what would it have to look like? And you know what they thought of a plan, they figured out how it could look. And they said, you totally know what we could do that, that would work with our lifestyle, and we could still get some sleep. And we would feel better overall, because we be taking care of ourselves. This is an act of self care. And kind of the part of this podcast that I really want to emphasize is the myths of self care that are out there in the world, that our world where we are on social media a lot. And we see people doing bougie things and have a nice massages and bubble Baths and Spa days. And we think of all of that, as self care, which it absolutely is, is very luxurious. It's very nice. You're doing nice things for yourself. But basic fundamental self care is any action that you take, that supports your emotional, mental, physical, spiritual well being. And that means getting to bed on time. And that means figuring out how to move your body every day. It means figuring out how to eat in the healthiest way possible. Sometimes it means saying no to things that would keep you up later than planned or even make you feel like shit the next day, like if you're going to go and have drinks with friends. And the next day is your plan today for going to the gym. And your time for the gym is really in the morning, because you have a full day, sometimes an act of self care saying no to something that will interfere with the action, that's actually taking care of yourself. When I first many, many, many years ago started doing food prep and food planning, I realized that I had to intentionally mark off three hours on a Sunday to make sure that I did all the prep for my food and had my planning done, so that I had the foods I wanted. And I wasn't rushed. I wasn't feeling stressed throughout the week that I can take care of myself, I can feed myself well. So sometimes an act of self care is saying no to something that interferes with your ability to care for yourself. Now, I know for a fact that a lot of women struggle with this, because I work with them. And because they're friends of mine. And I hear this a lot. We think that self care is selfish, because when we consider self care, we go right to spending more money on myself going out or doing fancy treatments on myself, right, blocking off time saying no to other people. And we consider that to be selfish. So I know I've said this on the show before I'm going to reiterate it now. A selfish act is an act that you do that causes harm or discomfort to someone else, you do something for your own benefit at a cost to someone else. self care is not that self care is actually the opposite of that. Because when you take the time to go to bed on time, get enough sleep, when you take the time to eat foods that support a healthy microbiome, which in turn impacts your moods and your mental and emotional stability. When you take time, or you spend the money to work with a coach or a therapist, because your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. You're doing something for you, that benefits everyone around you. Because you show up in a better place. When you care for yourself by doing the fundamental basic things that don't have to cost anything, right, that could just be a rearranging of a schedule. That means you can look at your schedule and say, You know what, here's my work, here are my obligations that I need to do that I truly, truly need to do not that I tell myself stories that I need to do, because no one else can do it as good as me. But the obligations you have that you actually need to do like show up for work, right? Or maybe buy groceries and maybe someone else in your household can take care of that for it for you as well. But when you look at these basic obligations, and then everything else that you're doing in life, and you say to yourself, that's exhausting. Like I'm exhausted doing that, that's too many things. And then you learn to rearrange that schedule you learn to say no to things, not at the cost of someone else, but because it's an act of self care, and because you want to show up in your life in your best way, right, you want to be able to do things in the best way that you can. You want to be able to take care of people in the way that you like to take care of people. And you cannot do that when you are The Giving Tree, meaning you are just an empty stump, you are out of gas, right? So self care means that you're willing to look at the schedule. And I focus a lot on time when we when it comes to self care. Because here's the deal. We have 168 hours in a week. Now I have a program called Creating time for you. I've done it in workshops before you may have been at that workshop or heard that workshop. And I think that when we realize there's 168 hours in a week, that's a little bit shocking, isn't it? That doesn't sound like very much. And I remember in preparing this program, I wanted something that was visual, because I'm kind of a visual person. And I created these sheets that had 168 Little $1 Monopoly money bills on them, and said, Here's here's what you have to spend. This is your time in the form of dollar bills. This is how valuable it is. Because let's say you've got $160 bills, the first thing you're going to do is well, you got to sleep right, you know, you're going to sleep every single week. So you're going to take out $7 bills every day, seven days a week, and put them aside and say I no longer have those. So there's $49, that's gone. So now your 168 hours is $49 less, you notice that I didn't do the math on that, okay? Now maybe you have work, there's another 40 hours, maybe 50 hours, who knows, whatever it is that you have to spend at work, you take that out, what you have left, is the very few hours in a week, to take care of yourself, and enjoy the things that you love. Hopefully you enjoy your work too. And hopefully you enjoy sleeping. I know I do. But the point is, there's not a lot of time, time is so incredibly precious. You know, people say money, right? We value money a lot. And money is great. And it's great to have money. But you can make more money. Sometimes you have more money, sometimes you have less, sometimes we will give you money, sometimes you win money, money can fluctuate and change. The time is 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, everybody has the same amount. That's all there is. That's all you're gonna get. So it is the most precious resource that you have. So when I talk about self care, I emphasize to people, you've got to look at your schedule, you've got to look at your time. Because taking care of yourself requires managing your time effectively. As I gave an example of a minute ago, it requires looking at your schedule ahead of time and saying, Wow, my friends want me to do these things all week long. But if I do that many things, and I'm up this late each of those nights, I am not going to have the energy to take care of myself the next morning, I'm not going to be able to get up early and do my journaling practice, I'm not going to feel like I have the energy to do grocery shopping and food prep. So this is a really important aspect of self care. One, we have to realize that when we tell ourselves the story, I don't have time for that. We are lying to ourselves, okay? It's not true. You do have time. But you're choosing to spend that time on something else. Sounds kind of like a tough love podcast here. But it's not tough love. It's like real love. Real love means I want you to understand that taking care of yourself is the most important thing, in that we don't have to buy into the story that that means you got to have time for two hour bubble baths while you drink champagne. Even though that might sound lovely to somebody. Self Care is this fundamental, nourishing yourself, taking time to breathe. That sounds so simple. You know, when I do the Tuesday terrain talks, and I'm talking about things that you can do that directly impact your metabolic health. You hear some of the same practices over and over, right? Get refined foods out of your diet, move your body every single day, hydrate yourself and get good sleep.

Laura Lummer 14:33
That's it. Right? These are fundamentals. Those are fundamentals of self care. So we think about them as far as these things impact our metabolic health. Well, what could be a better practice of self care than the fundamental things that support your health, your body's ability to heal and your mental and emotional stability and wellness? This is an Right, it doesn't have to cost a fortune for all of these things. You don't have to be privileged, right? Sometimes I'll post something on social media about something that I've done, you know, to, to care for myself, you know, a walk on the beach, or I don't know, an appointment somewhere. And people will comment and say, Well, you have the privilege to be able to do that. And, you know, I probably do have more political privilege than some other people and less privilege than other people in the world. But the bottom line is, I decided that supporting my ability to heal is the single most important thing in my life. Therefore, I filter everything I do through that filter. Will this support my body's ability to heal? overscheduling? Myself? Nope. eating junk food? Nope. consuming alcohol? No, it doesn't get through the filter. So when we talk about self care, I want you to think about it. Ask yourself, What does that mean to you? Right? What is the filter that you will filter people's questions, requests, obligations and your own stories through when it comes to taking care of yourself. There's so many times when I see people who take better care of their children, or their spouse or even their parent, than they're willing to take care of themselves, like, they won't let the people they love, do certain things, eat certain things, be treated certain ways. But they will allow that for themselves. This is going against self care, right? An act of self care. showing yourself love. Expecting people treat you with kindness and respect. Feeding your body good healthy food. That's all self care. Go to bed on time. It's all self care. Now, people stories pop up. Well, that's not fun. Well, I shouldn't have to do that. Well, is it fun to feel like shit? Is it fun to be exhausted? Is it fun to push yourself to the point where it's just like you're numb, right? You just think I don't even I don't even know what I'm feeling. I hear this a lot. I don't even know what I'm feeling. I don't I don't even know what's going on in my head. There's no space in your life, to even be able to care for yourself, to even understand what you're experiencing, right? We're not meant to be robots. So when it comes to even the busiest of lives, even the fullest of schedules, we got to come back to that 168 hours. And ask ourselves, where am I spending these 168 hours? How am I investing them in caring for myself, because the physical acts of self care, like I've mentioned, you know, eating well, sleeping, hydrating and moving your body every day, have a major impact on the mental and emotional aspects of our wellness. And I know and you probably know, going through breast cancer treatment, this is a major emotionally traumatic event. So it isn't just I need to find someone maybe to get therapy with to talk through to improve my emotional health. But you've got to support your emotional health with your physical health, they go hand in hand, they are not separate. When you're not in a good mental state. For instance, the story I shared with you about my son, when he's not in a good mental state, he's not taking the time to cook for himself. He's not even taking the time to go out and snowboard, which is something that he loves very much. When we're not in a good mental state. We're not doing the things to take care of our body. When we're not doing the things to take care of our body physically. So that we feel good, we have energy, we don't have brain fog throughout the day, when we're not doing the things to take care of our body physically. We don't feel well mentally. There's no separating the two. Right? If we have a lot of aches and pains and fatigue, we don't feel well Emotionally, it takes a tremendous amount of emotional energy, when our body doesn't feel well. So when it comes to self care, if you have the story, that I don't have time for that or that it's got to be really expensive, or it's got to be all kinds of bougie stuff. I want to tell you, let's change that story. It's not true. It can be very simple. It can be inexpensive, it doesn't have to cost you anything. It can even just be a rearranging and a retelling yourself a different story, a retelling of your story in such a way where it goes from. I don't have the time to do things like that. Two, oh, the first thing that I care about is how I make the time to take care of myself. And then everything else is going to have to work around that. And so when I say that, in your hearing on this podcast, you might just think, Oh, you might already just feel anxiety coming up at the idea, because you're so used to doing so much for other people, or because in your mind, you think you're doing so much nothing else can fit. That's okay. If you have that feeling. If you start to feel anxious, right off the bat, that's okay. Notice that, and you don't have to change anything. But what I would ask you is, ask yourself this question. What if I could do that? Like, what's the one thing one small thing that you believe would help you feel mentally, physically emotionally better if you could pick one thing to do? And you think, if I could do that thing? I really think that it would help me, it would help me to feel really good. And then ask yourself, if I did that one thing, what would it look like? How could I do that? Right? How could I work that into my day? Here's another thing people do when it comes to self care. They think it's all or nothing, right? So when we talk about exercise, and this is something that I had a conversation with my son about too, when we think about exercise, we think about exercise every day, like I just said, move your body every day. But that doesn't have to be formal exercise, it just means attention to don't be sitting all day long, right move. So when it comes to exercise, we have these different stories. And so my son's story was when I say, You got to get some consistent exercise in his mind, that's go to the gym for an hour at a time, five, six days a week. But as I offered to him, What if you could go for 30 minutes, three times a week, right? When I talked to people about changing their diet, immediately, the brain goes to all or nothing, it means get rid of all the processed food, go do whole 30. In fact, when I was talking with my son, he says, Well, my girlfriend and I were going to try to do 75 hard. I said, What the hell is 75 hard. And he says it's 75 days, and he starts to describe this routine to me. So it's 75 days of doing hard stuff, right? So it's going from wherever your life is right now, to the extreme of whatever, eating all kale and paleo and working out 60 minutes and getting your heart rate up pyramids, like all the things all at the same time. The human brain is not designed to do that. Your brain is going to freak out 75 hard. And I said to him pay 75 Hard right off the bat says to me, I'm going to try to commit to something for 75 days, and then I'm done because it's going to suck. And I just want to get through 75 days. But what if I said to you, how about let's do 365 Kind of easy? And it's like how's kind of easy gonna help me? Well, because kind of easy your brain can handle, which means instead of 75 hard and doing everything and changing everything at once. How about if you eat Taco Bell, two times less next week. And you have a homemade meal instead? Or one day less, you know, fewer processed foods, how about you start there. And so it's okay, when we think about taking care of ourselves to start small, start with the smallest change, that isn't going to take a lot of time, and doesn't have to be every day. What if I said exercise two times a week for 20 minutes at a time. And you may think this doesn't have any impact and you'll be wrong. One, it does have an impact, because any kind of exercise and the more whole foods you can get into your diet, the better, right? So if you're not doing that at all, every little change is going to make a difference to when we do these kinds of things. It has a reaction in our whole body, it starts to shift our microbiome, it starts to shift the way we think about ourselves. So if we're exercising twice a week, we start to feel better. We start to have better moods, we start to feel physically stronger. And then that inspires us. And we think well, maybe maybe I could do this three days a week. And then we can try three days a week. Or if you start off with 20 minutes, a day, twice a week. Maybe you could you know, I think I might be able to do this for 30 minutes. And so instead of starting at 75 hard and exhausting yourself and stressing yourself out and pressuring and judging yourself. What if we start at 365 easy days of self care, meaning what will be easy for me today Could I add a half a cup of leafy green vegetables into whatever it is I'm going to eat today? Can I do that three times this week? And then next week? Hey, I did that. That was okay, that was pretty easy. Could I add a half a cup of dark green leafy vegetables into two meals a day? I mean, check it out. Let me see. And as we do that, we start to see what point is the brain start to resist, because our brain likes little tiny incremental changes, like things you can do in five minutes, things you can do in short periods of time, a few days a week. This is self care, you guys, this is how we take care of ourselves by thinking, how can I make this easier on me? You know, you've been through enough, we don't have to keep being hard on ourselves. Now I say that. And I'm sure you've heard me say on the show, and I talk with my clients and my clients say, you know, doing this work is hard. Doing this work takes energy. Right. So even making small changes to care for yourself takes intention. And it takes energy. And so we kind of equate that humans in our brain, we equate that with being hard because we're making a change. And because we have to resist, we're kind of undoing long term conditioning. Right. So it takes effort, it takes consistency. And it takes practice, which is why when we do it in little tiny bits at a time, it makes it easier, right? If I only asked you to focus on getting a half a cup of broccoli into one meal a day, that's way easier than asking you not to eat any processed food, or anything that isn't a dark green leafy vegetable with a clean piece of protein for 75 days no matter what, right? So we can do these things easy ourself, we can look at self care and say, self care is whatever I do every single day, to support me feeling as good as I can physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, every little step matters. So let's go ahead and take self care off of his BS pedestal, and bring it back down to earth. And let's realize we can do simple things, we can make life more simple. And when we do that, we get to love ourselves more. And that gives us the capacity to love others more, to enjoy life more, to step into the things you love, even to just create space to think about what it is you love. Right? We got to have space for that. So let's stop with the heart and the push through like I was on a call earlier today. And you know, I was talking to somebody and she was just saying, I'm a person who pushes through, I push myself I push myself, I push myself. She wants to take some time off of work to take care of herself and to heal. But she says but I will feel guilty because I'm a person who's very disciplined. Well, what if discipline meant learning how to practice self care and gentleness on a regular basis? Why does self discipline have to be something that's hard on you, that causes pain for you, that causes struggle for you like that does not sound fun. I like whipping myself like I know I don't enjoy that at all. I can't believe anybody does. So what is self discipline is creating more whitespace in my life, and honoring it, creating time for me to journal on a daily basis and honoring that is that not self discipline, right, but self discipline in a gentle way that actually supports you, rather than exhausting you. Give it some thought. I'd love to hear what you think. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram as Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach and you can DM me. Or you can join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group and discuss these things like how can you take better care of yourself without making it hard on you? Because this is what we need so we can support our body's ability to heal. And that's what we want strong, vibrant, healthy, glowing bodies. Now, if you want to dig even deeper into that you can work with me through either metabolic health coaching, or my life coaching membership, which is absolutely amazing, the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, you can find all the information for both of those in the links wherever you're listening to or watching this podcast. Or you can go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com and get all the details and take some first steps into really practicing self care. All right friends, I'll talk to you very soon and until then please be good to yourself


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