FINDING JOY IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON AS A CANCER PATIENT
The holidays are typically thought of as a time filled with joy, wonder and beloved traditions – but when your life is turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis, even the happiest times can seem impossible to face. But the good news? This time of year is filled with beauty, and looking for it in unexpected places can ease the pain that can come with cancer treatment.
According to Dr. Diane Wilder, a medical oncologist at CARTI, “the season is filled with many forms of beauty, and beauty mitigates the mystery of emotional and physical pain caused by a cancer diagnosis and its treatment.” Read below for some of Dr. Wilder’s tips for finding joy in the midst of a difficult holiday season.
- Look up – The sunrises and sunsets this time of year seem more dazzling as they emerge or melt into a crisp horizon. Stop to gaze and reflect on this beautiful ritual of the sky that is comforting in its consistent presence and its brilliant imagery.
- Attend a holiday play, ballet or performance – There is something about holiday music’s familiarity and the memories it evokes that is comforting. You might hear unique expressions of music that resonate in your heart and soul in a new way.
- Visit a holiday arts and crafts event – Meet people who produce the goods they sell, learn their unique stories and sample the fruits of their labor. There is something foundational about such a brief but rich connection, and their stories are often inspiring and uplifting.
- Get out of the house – Take the time to enjoy a holiday drink in a coffee shop, travel outside the city to a natural place of beauty or familiarity. Take in the bustle of the people around you, the feel of the air around you and the fragrances of the season.
- Look out for special kindnesses – It’s almost as if hearts are freshly unleashed and free to give and love generously during this season.
- Visit someone who is alone – Take the time to visit with or even take a small gift to someone who may need to be listened to. Hear their hearts and their stories – this might be the greatest gift of all.
- Write a letter of gratitude or forgiveness.
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter or food pantry.
- Watch a movie that is especially inspirational or special to you.
- Reflect on your blessings – Take some time to allow your thoughts to collect the blessings and tender mercies that have been bestowed on you through your cancer journey. Stop and remember all the words and acts of love that have been poured upon you in surprising ways.
- Remember what matters – Pause to receive the fact that you are cherished and cared about in ways you never knew, and that your moments of anguish, loss and pain matter deeply and are not wasted.
CARTI wishes all of its patients, staff and friends a holiday season full of joy and peace. We thank you for a wonderful 2023 and look forward to celebrating the new year.