The New Year is a time when many of us refocus. We look back on the passing year and resolve to change some aspect of our lives for the better. But how does having cancer—or having a loved one who has cancer—impact how we approach the New Year? Lori Kovell, LSW, Mind-Body Therapist at our hospital in Philadelphia shares her thoughts on how those newly diagnosed can approach the New Year in a positive way.
How does a cancer diagnosis typically impact someone’s plans for the coming year?
Anytime someone receives a cancer diagnosis there is cause to evaluate life plans. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, the upcoming year can be a way to re-evaluate personal goals and make an outline of ways to positively support those goals. Around this time of year, it is common to reflect on life experiences. If the goal is to have a strong immune system, what changes in sleep, stress or diet can you make to bolster your immune system so you can better tolerate treatment?
Is there a difference in being diagnosed around the New Year versus any other time of the year?
There isn’t a big difference between learning about a cancer diagnosis around the New Year versus any other time of year. That said, the New Year is an opportunity to more seriously consider change. You may want to eat differently, improve your sleep or connect more with family and friends. The New Year presents an opportunity to start fresh.
What can those who are newly diagnosed do to refocus their lives in the New Year?
In general, it’s important to ask, “In regards to my treatment or my new diagnosis, what do I want to accomplish and how can I do this? In what lifestyle areas (sleep, diet, stress management, relationships) can I create positive change to support myself and my immune system in the coming year?”
Should those newly diagnosed make resolutions specifically related to their cancer?
It’s not necessary to have all New Year’s resolutions be specific to cancer or treatment. A part of coping well is maintaining normalcy, so you should have some goals unrelated to cancer, too. Consider learning a new hobby or starting a new family tradition.
Read more New Year’s advice for cancer patients.