About The Author: Dr. Niki Barr
Niki Barr, Ph.D. founded a pioneering psychotherapy practice dedicated to working with cancer patients in all stages of cancer as well as with the patient’s spouse or partner, children, family members, caregivers, and friends in weekly, joint or individual psychotherapy sessions.
Over the course of her practice, Dr. Barr has developed many insights, strategies, and tools for achieving emotional well being whether as a patient with cancer or as a family member, caregiver, or friend of the patient. She is now preparing to share her many discoveries through her forthcoming book –Emotional Wellness: The Other Half of Treating Cancer.
Dr. Barr is a dynamic and popular speaker with audiences of cancer patients and their loved ones. Additionally, she speaks to audiences of oncologists, oncology nurses, patient navigators, psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers and caregivers focused on how to best deal with emotions cancer patients experience. Currently, she is planning and preparing a series of personally led seminars and workshops nationally and internationally, both online and in-person.
Cancer Patients and Caregivers Moving Forward Through Leaping Holiday Emotions
“This is not to be missed”. I noticed the sentence written by a famous author promoting another author’s new book, and it seemed a fitting message applied to holidays. How can we relax and celebrate holidays in the midst of cancer? Particularly when emotions seem to be especially volatile at this time.
Regardless of your current situation, caregiving, cancer, no cancer, post treatment, recurrence, hospice—holidays bring up emotions. Just thinking about the holidays can move you to quickly feel any or all of these in some combination:
- Anticipation Fearful
- Thrill Comfortable
- Gratitude Uncomfortable
- Lonely Discouraged
- Generous Anxious
- Perturbed Overwhelm
- Pleased Apprehensive
What are you feeling right now?
WHY HOLIDAY EMOTIONS SEEM TO GRAB YOU
Yikes..out of nowhere a flood of emotions during this season can surprise you. Your memories of past holidays collide with whatever is going on in your life now. It’s a dance, really, of past emotions coupled with new emotion. Awareness can help you understand moving you forward.
RELAX and CELEBRATE
So, knowing emotions are usually more intense during holidays, how do you relax and celebrate? You lean into these emotions by making a decision to do just that. And sometimes you make your way five minutes at a time, continuing to keep your decision front and center.
MORE TOOLS FOR ENJOYING THE HOLIDAYS
Check in with yourself frequently
How am I doing?
How am I feeling?
What would soothe this situation right now?
Your daily routine is very good for helping you feel relaxed. Unfortunately holidays tend to disrupt it with family and friend visits, different eating times, etc. As much as you possibly can stay with what you normally do every day.
Manage Time Spent Together
Do you have family and friends that “stay and stay and stay”, bringing you to wonder if they will ever leave? Or do you go to a family member’s or friend’s home staying for ridiculously long times? You will want to manage time together reasonably, which means ‘speaking up’ about how long works best for you.
Shhhh Quiet Please
Take some time to be quiet, even five minutes at a time. Have your favorite thought or quote handy for soothing and re-connecting with relaxation during your quiet time.
HOLIDAY EMOTIONAL WELLBEING
Holidays under any circumstance bring additional: emotion, family and friends visits, cooking, cleaning, etc. However, relaxing and celebrating anyway just feels better than getting sidetracked by debilitating emotions. And who doesn’t want to feel better?
What do you do to bring in holiday relaxation and celebration? How do you meet the challenge of extra emotions?