Why a Supportive Community is an Important Part of Self-care

*This blog post in sponsored by Our Way Forward.

Self-care has become somewhat of a buzz word but it is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle that requires investing our time and energy into our own mental, physical, and emotional health. This seems to be particularly hard for us moms. We are so busy supporting others that we often forget to provide support for ourselves and building a supportive community is an important part of selfcare. But imagine how much more important a supportive community can be if you are given a devastating cancer diagnosis?

That’s what happened to Shannon Miller, seven-time Olympic medalist in gymnastics and survivor of ovarian cancer.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer after attending a last-minute, rescheduled appointment that she originally was going to cancel because she had a toddler, an upcoming trip and all the busy things that come along with being a mom. How many of us have canceled a doctor’s appointment for ourselves because there were just too many other things on the to-do list? She remembered thinking, “I feel fine. It’s not a problem. I’ll just slide it to the next calendar year.” This is so many of our stories.

I had the pleasure of hearing Shannon’s story while attending a MAMARAZZI event hosted by The MOMS in partnership with Our Way Forward. Denise Albert, a breast cancer survivor, and Melissa Gerstein of The MOMS sat down with Shannon Miller to discuss her experience with ovarian cancer. Shannon discussed the important role her community played in her recovery, from the daily care and support of her family and close friends to even her connections with complete strangers.

Shannon is now an ambassador for Our Way Forward which is a call to action that encourages women living with ovarian cancer, their loved ones, and healthcare providers to rethink how they talk about ovarian cancer and ways to work together to navigate the physical and emotional challenges that the disease brings.

When dealing with cancer, self-care is a must. So many of us are touched by cancer in some way or another, whether we are experiencing it, are the caretakers or have loved ones experiencing cancer. Building a supportive community can provide so much to everyone involved.

Support. Surrounding yourself with a community of people is important for not just physical support but also emotional and mental support. Any health journey or life challenge whether it be ovarian cancer or something else requires us to lean on others and ask for help.

Motivation. A scary health diagnosis can be frightening but knowing that you have the support you need can give you the motivation to keep moving forward one step at a time.

Accountability. Setting health and personal goals are an important part of the cancer experience and being surrounded by people that can hold you accountable to those goals and celebrate when those goals are reached are a very important part of process.

Resources. As the saying goes, two minds are better than one. And it’s important for everyone involved including patients, caretakers and medical providers to pool resources.

Who was part of your community and in what ways did they support you?

Elisha Beach is a stay-at-home mom to four kids and four step-kids…Yes, you read that right—eight kids. She is a wife, home cook, taxi driver, herder of children, terrible housekeeper, selfcare advocate and founder of The Mom Forum. 

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