A mug of steaming hot water with a lemon wedge

My Morning Routine After Breast Cancer

My mornings before I had breast cancer were quite different than they are today. I would wake up very early around 5 or 5:30 am, while it was still dark out, and immediately make coffee. From the moment I woke up, I would already feel stressed and anxious about everything I had to do that day. I would rush from one thing to the next, never allowing myself to slow down, thinking I would be a failure if I did. 

Running on caffeine, running on empty

I was raised to believe that being successful meant you had to work very, very hard and that you always had to be exhausted. So, I did just that. I made sure I pushed myself to keep going and work as hard as I possibly could, even waking up a whole hour before I really had to wake up. I lived this way, running on adrenaline and caffeine for all my adult life, until the day when my life would change forever in September 2019. I got a call from my doctor that a routine biopsy revealed that I had breast cancer. My whole life stopped at that moment, and I knew that I had to make many changes in order to heal.

My perspective changed, so did my routine

One of the first changes I made was my morning routine. I was tired, in fact, I had been tired for years, but I never allowed myself the time to rest. I had put so much pressure on myself just to keep going, no matter what, that I don’t think I even knew how to properly rest. After my diagnosis, I craved more quiet and more downtime, so I decided to take it and build it into my day to make sure that I was making time for it.  

For me, a 5am wake up just didn't make sense

My morning routine needed a makeover, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to do just that. I started by allowing myself to sleep later and took the pressure off to be awake at 5 am because I thought that was what “successful” people did. This was a game-changer for me and made me more relaxed overall.

Morning reflections

I bought a calendar in book form and kept it on my nightstand. Each morning, as soon as I wake up, the first thing I do is reach for it, find the date, and write three things I am grateful for. This practice has completely transformed my life, and one of the absolute best parts of this is I can go back and see even on my hardest days, I still had things to be grateful for. This set the tone of the day and gave me a real boost! 

A rejuvenating morning hydration

I now drink hot water with the juice of one lemon each morning before I drink anything else. This has helped me kick my caffeine dependency and decreased my overall anxiety. I was always so worried I would feel tired or unable to “wake up” without my coffee, and the complete opposite is true! I now drink coffee only when I feel like it occasionally and more socially than anything else. I feel better all-around, and I believe that starting my day with hydration instead of dehydration is a huge part of the reason. 

Slowing down

By slowing down, I could accomplish much more than I used to each day. This was the most surprising part to me. I stopped pushing myself and putting so much pressure on myself and just slowed down. The impact these changes have made in my life is just incredible.

How has your routine changed since your breast cancer diagnosis? Share with us in the comments below!

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