3 Vacation Tips to Help You Relax When Dealing with Cancer

View of Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Sometimes, life can get to be too much – and you just need to get away for a while.

I recently spent 10 days split between Wisconsin and Colorado, and my double vacation gave me a much-needed change of scenery and perspective.

During my vacation, I tried to reflect on why I felt so refreshed and relieved. I’ve come up with a few tips for you — whether you need a break from thinking about mesothelioma , the stress of caregiving or you need to learn to laugh again.

Spend Time Around Children

I spent a few days in rural Wisconsin, with a friend who has several children and lives on a farm. I can’t begin to explain how relaxed I felt during those precious days. There is something about being around kids that simply lifts my spirits.

The kids created several “Jen Huts” just for me — small gatherings of sticks that vaguely resembled a hut. On my final day, they packed a picnic to eat in one of the huts.

I spent those days in Wisconsin basically doing nothing, and yet the time was the most valuable I’ve had in many months. We walked down the lane on the farm, breathing in the fresh air. We played a game of “Sorry!” as well as “Scrabble” and “Uno.” We sat on the porch and sipped cold drinks.

We took a trip to the park, and I sat and watched the kids play. The laughter filled my ears — and my heart. Later that day, as we laughed about something I can’t even remember, one of the girls said to me: “You laugh a lot. You’re going to live a long time.”

Such wisdom from a 9-year-old.

I pray that my days (and yours) are filled with laughter, even if we don’t live long lives on this earth.

We took a trip to the community pool, which provided some sunshine and more giggles. We also went to a nearby amusement park, which the kids were thrilled by. They actually convinced me to go on the bumper cars with them. That left my head spinning, but at ease at the same time. That’s usually how things turn out when kids are around.

My friend told me later that one of the girls teared up just after I had left. Again, it made me realize I need to spend more time around children.

If you have kids or grandkids — or friends with kids — in your life, maybe it’s time to take a break and spend some time with them. It can be so refreshing to just read a bedtime story together or sit and watch them play at the park.

Relax by the Water

My friends and I took a trip a couple hours north of their farm to spend the night at her mom’s cabin, which is on a beautiful lake. We spent hours watching the kids play in the sand, and took the pontoon boat out for a breathtaking view of the water. The kids were quick to point out the loons to me, and we were able to get within a few feet of two of them. (One of the girls later remarked that my laugh sounds like a loon!)

I took mental notes while I was on the water, in hopes of maintaining my newfound outlook on life. The best advice I can give you is this: Maybe it’s time for a trip to a lake or the ocean, or even a stream. There’s something about being on the water (or even near it) that helps the soul unwind and relax. I felt a million miles away from my stressed-out life in Florida.

During my last day in Wisconsin, my aunt and I took a tubing trip down the Crystal River. While it was not as relaxing as expected, it was indeed a pleasure to spend more time in the water.

Hang Out with Family

After my days in Wisconsin, I was off to see my sister get her master’s degree in Denver. I’ve never combined two vacations into one before, but I was happy with the result. It was so nice to enjoy the summer weather in Denver (minus the humidity) and hang out with my sister and mom. We took naps almost every day and went to bed early, too.

If you have family nearby or even far away, maybe it’s time to set aside some time to see them. They can help remind you about what’s important in life — and remind you how much they love you.

I can definitely say I enjoyed my long vacation, and I will forever treasure the memories. Maybe you can still squeeze a vacation into your summer or fall plans. I bet you’ll be glad you did.


Jennifer Mia has been writing and editing for more than 15 years. She has worked for newspapers, magazines and online publications. When she was in college, she lost a brother to cancer, and now she writes blogs for The Mesothelioma Center. Jennifer hopes that her writing brings some small amount of hope and healing to the many men and women who are forced to deal with this horrible cancer.

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