Post thanksgiving chow doesn’t have to lead into a food “coma” on the couch.  Why not lead the charge outdoors and walk with your family?  Review of cancer studies shows, “Exercise can decrease the side effects of anticancer therapy, and can aid in recovery and rehabilitation following chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.” Tempted to use cold weather as an excuse to not go outside and walk?  Then, transform a room into a dance hall; push the furniture aside, grab a hand and shake your bass.  I promise, your whole body will smile.


Food prep, hosting relatives and cleaning corners that haven’t been touched since the last shindig may cause dwindling patience and joy, or as my son likes to say, “epic rage.”  Breathe stress out of the body.  According to Mayo Clinic,  “research suggests that meditation may help people manage symptoms related to: cancer, anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain and sleep issues.”   What have you got to lose by trying?  Can’t find a quiet space to do it alone, then coax the whole household into participating. Try “Mantra Meditation” steps promoted by Erin Barfels, a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor and founder of SPARK! LifeWorks.

  • Create a quiet space and find a relaxing position
  • Recite a simple Mantra that reflects positive thoughts
  • As you breath, with your diaphragm, repeat the mantra
  • As you reflect on yourself and others, imagine your heart expanding with each  thought and breath.


Rather than hit the sack feeling guilty about the sugar overload, commit to one dessert treat, so you can go to bed without the sugar guilt!  Studies indicate high sugar and artificial sweetener diets add inches to the belly and increase risk for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.   Trade the extra sweets for acts of kindness and compassion.  Research emphasizes many healthy benefits of giving, and gratitude; decrease stress, increase  happiness, lower blood pressure, and enhance self-worth.  Send a text or note telling family and friends why you are grateful for them.

Live the Holidays!  Move, Breathe, Treat. You in?

Related links:

The Negative Effects of Sugar


Mary Van Heukelom is the Health and Fitness Director for Above and Beyond Cancer, and may be reached at for a complimentary wellness coaching session.


Mary Van Heukelom
Program Director

Mary Van Heukelom is a Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer who trains, educates and coaches cancer survivors to reduce the chance of relapse, through holistic personal wellness programs addressing all aspects of healthy living.

One Response to “It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3.”

  1. Chris koehn

    Let the breathing begin:)


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