I’m often asked why I decided to become a health coach and work with people whose lives have been affected by cancer.
I have been surrounded by loved ones battling cancer since I was a little girl, beginning with my grandfather, my uncle and followed by both of my parents. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, it was my husband’s Stage IV cancer diagnosis that really rocked my world in 1999.
Feeling desperate and powerless, I decided to immerse myself into the world of healthy living so I could support those traveling the path that I had traveled with my loved ones.
The aftermath of cancer is a confusing and uncertain time.
What I discovered was that cancer survivors don’t feel “out of the woods” when they receive a clean bill of health. My husband described his remission as being pushed out of a plane without a parachute. And while skydiving may be something you’ve always wanted to do, you want to leap with the most experienced instructor so you’ll have the best possible outcome. That hand holding is gone once your cancer is in remission, and your life goes back to “normal”… doesn’t it?
The question is – what is your new normal?
You have obviously chosen to live or you would have not taken any action to get well. Life will never be the same as it was before your diagnosis and that can be the biggest, most beautiful gift, if you are willing to accept it.
So where do you begin to create your new normal? Here are 3 steps…
1 Nurture a new friendship with your body.
Your body is the only one you get and you need to forgive it and honor it for getting you through some really difficult times. Our bodies want to heal and thrive; we just need to nurture them like we would a newborn baby with the right nutrition, exercise, rest and love. Begin each day with an affirmation: I am grateful for and love my (insert body part) because (insert reason), e.g., I am grateful for and love my eyes because they allow me to see the beauty around me each day.
2 Master healthy living.
There is nothing more important than your health so why wouldn’t you become your own health expert? To master something you need to research and take action. No one knows your body better than you and it’s time to discover what will help your mind, body and spirit thrive.
Set up your environment to keep you inspired: build a library of healthy living books and CDs; reorganize your kitchen and have the tools needed to create healthy delicious meals; invest in stylish, comfortable workout clothes and pack your gym bag the night before; and create a welcoming spot in your home for journaling, mediation and prayer.
3 Build a support system.
Loved ones may not share your enthusiasm and may be judgmental about the changes you are making. Chances are they may feel threatened by your new lifestyle and eating habits and could be worried these changes will affect the dynamics of your relationship. Be sensitive to that, thank them for their concern and move forward…your well-being depends on it.
It’s important that you surround yourself with those who support, inspire and stretch you. Share with them your commitment to healthy living and you will find that you will be a great inspiration to them. Consider inviting your support network over for a healthy potluck dinner and view an educational documentary like Food Inc., Food Matters, or Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. You can create a healthier social life benefiting all involved.