As Americans gathered around to watch the annual ball drop, most people were relieved to finally bid farewell to the unprecedented year of 2020. The year had been exceptionally challenging in every way imaginable – financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Though it was truly amazing to see people and organizations adapt and overcome each hurdle, it was certainly tiring. Cancer patients and their families, however, have been affected the most. Battling cancer on its own is difficult and overwhelming. When paired with a pandemic and the related isolation, the stress was nearly unbearable.
Although 2021 will bring about its own challenges as the virus still rages on, the new year brings a fresh start, new hope and a chance to embrace positivity. Here are 10 things you can do to get started now.
1. Embrace family and friends
After a year of mandated isolation, embracing and nurturing relationships is a top priority for many people in 2021. Embrace friends and family, celebrate their accomplishments and their flaws, and make time for one another.
2. Try new things
One of the most inspirational things to take from 2020 is the yearning for new and exciting things. Whether it is searching for a new hobby in which to be totally consumed or traveling beyond the front doorstep, new experiences bring true joy.
3. Be hopeful
Remaining hopeful can be challenging but look at what has been accomplished in the last year! The science field has learned so much in a short time regarding prevention and vaccines. More countries are pouring resources into the health sector than ever before. If 2020 was about overcoming challenges, 2021 is about gaining momentum on these solutions.
4. Take control of your health
Take control back this year. Celebrate the ability to make choices and make the choices that treat your body well. Eat right, ditch any vices, and exercise as much as you are able. When the body feels good, the mind feels better and that is where the magic happens.
5. Make time for self-care
Did you know that even ten minutes a day of meditation can yield extraordinary results? Prioritize wellbeing by taking action on things like meditation and practice saying ‘no’ when necessary.
6. Speak with positivity
For some reason, people find it easier to speak kindly to others than to themselves. The words used in thoughts – or even out loud to oneself – affect us more than we know. This year, intentionally speak kindly to yourself in the mirror. Keep putting forth intentional effort until your subconscious begins exuding kindness. Experts suggest speaking kindly to oneself can change one’s mental state, view of self, and overall attitude.
7. Get in touch with nature
Escaping the city to breathe in fresh air is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress while increasing pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature also contributes to one’s physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
8. Pay it forward
Do you remember how scared you were when you or a loved one were first diagnosed with cancer? There are many people experiencing that same feeling every day. At the National Foundation for Cancer Research, helping people cope through the power of connection is a major goal. Through Faces & Voices of Cancer, people affected by the disease can share their stories, greatly supporting others in similar situations.
9. Practice kindness
Everyone in the world had a difficult 2020. Some were unable to see their loved ones, some lost their loved ones, others worked long hours on the frontline…nearly every possible challenge imaginable presented itself. Offering kindness and patience for loved ones, yourself, and strangers will add much needed positivity to this new year.
10. Contribute to the greater good
The most effective way to inject positivity into 2021 is to contribute to the greater good. Whether that means donating goods, services, financial support, or your time to a worthy cause, there are many ways in which you can support those around you. Visit NFCR to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of cancer patients.
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