Sunsets, BBQs, and beach reads. Leaving your phone behind, walking barefoot, and moving through the day without a to-do list.
Many of us spend all year looking forward to these vacation moments.
Going through cancer treatment doesn’t fit into these ideal images of rest and relaxation. Even seeing photos of others can bring up mixed emotions when you’re recovering from a treatment, experiencing sun sensitivity, or fatigue.
So, what if we turned the concept of vacation on its head? Instead of saving up all year for these joyful moments, what if we enjoyed pieces of them every day?
Think of vacation moments as points in time when you felt joy, pleasure, or connected to what’s important to you. Sprinkling these into your days has the power to offset some of the demands brought on by cancer.
TIPS FOR FINDING VACATION MOMENTS
- Understand what brings you joy. Think about how you like to spend your time away. For some, it’s being surrounded by family and friends. Others enjoy solitude in nature. By getting clear on what fills your cup, you can more easily integrate or adapt these activities based on your energy level and treatment schedule.
- Embrace a “both/and” mentality. We don’t have to wait for circumstances to be ideal to experience joy. Allow yourself to accept days that are both difficult and memorable. Acknowledge, without shame or guilt, that you can feel sad and Allowing for emotions to co-exist is at the heart of the human experience.
- Shift your perspective. Language is powerful, so give yourself as much compassion and grace as you would a friend. Shifting your thoughts from, “I can’t go swimming” to “I get to see my family swim” offers a more expansive way of seeing a situation.
- Become a keen observer. Practicing gratitude can help us notice the good, even on hard days. Consider meditation or visualizations to transport yourself to an ideal location — whether it’s your favorite spot or a place that lives on your bucket list. Taking a new route to the store or visiting a nearby park can help you experience a familiar place in a completely different way.
Cancer may alter our plans, but it doesn’t take have to take away the present moment. What have you been waiting for that you could enjoy today?
As always, an Iris mental health therapist is here to support you.
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Reviewed by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board
This article meets Iris standards for medical accuracy. It has been fact-checked by the Iris Clinical Editorial Board, our team of oncology experts who ensure that the content is evidence based and up to date. The Iris Clinical Editorial Board includes board-certified oncologists and pharmacists, psychologists, advanced practice providers, licensed clinical social workers, oncology-certified nurses, and dietitians.