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Navigating Emotions

Enjoying Vacation Moments Throughout the Year

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 treatment, experiencing sun sensitivity, or dealing with 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 feel joy, pleasure, or a connection to what’s important to you. Sprinkling these moments into your daily life has the power to offset some of the demands brought on by cancer.

4 Tips for Finding Vacation Moments

  1. Understand What Brings You Joy: Reflect on how you like to spend your free time. Some people enjoy being surrounded by family and friends, while others find peace in solitude in nature. By identifying what rejuvenates you—or what fills your cup—, you can better integrate or adapt these activities based on your energy level and treatment schedule.

  2. Embrace a “Both/And” Mentality: Joy doesn’t require perfect circumstances. Allow yourself to accept days that are both difficult and memorable. Recognize, without shame or guilt, that you can feel both sad and grateful. Embracing the coexistence of emotions is at the heart of the human experience.

  3. Shift Your Perspective: Language is powerful. Show yourself as much compassion and grace as you would a friend. Changing your thoughts from “I can’t go swimming” to “I get to see my family swim” offers a more expansive view of the situation.

  4. Become a Keen Observer: Practicing gratitude helps us notice the good, even on hard days. Consider meditation or visualization to transport yourself to an ideal location, whether it’s your favorite spot or a place on your bucket list. Taking a new route to the store or visiting a nearby park can help you see familiar places in a new light.

Cancer may alter our plans, but it doesn’t 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.

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.