This time of year can be hard for anyone. The hubbub of the holidays and the let-down afterwards, the lack of sun, and the shorter days, can all feel very depleting. And if cancer is in your life, it’s even harder, and trying to paint on a happy face can sometimes make it worse.

To help you find hope and optimism for the new year ahead, here are some suggestions:

People: Being alone can intensify dark periods, so make sure you aren’t going too many days without talking to or seeing someone you love. Keep it simple — a 10 minute phone call here; a shared-coffee (or doctors visit) there. Don’t think; just do!

Sun and Rhythms: Wake up with the sun AND go to bed with it. This may seem crazy, but odds are the fatigue you feel is real and warrants some extra rest. If your life allows it, just give in to the tiredness and sleep. Maybe your body really needs it. And, who doesn’t love a good wintertime sunrise? With the trees bare, the sun has more space to poke through and light up. And, with a favorite mug in hand, and a few minutes of outside air (even from the window), your senses may perk up a little.

Creativity and Planning: If the new year feels daunting with doctor visits and therapies, try getting a little strategic and a little creative. Make sure your loved ones know your schedule, so they can offer more support. Ask friends or loved ones to go to appointments with you, or share the experience with you in some way. Maybe a friend can take you to dinner the night before every appointment, or you could plan to watch a new movie every week with a loved one. Plan to give yourself happier things to look forward to throughout the course of your treatment.

Walking and Nature: Even if it’s hard, walk a little bit as often as possible, if you can. Go outside (or open a window) for 5 minutes. Not only is it good for your body, but specifically walking outside is therapeutic for your mind and can alleviate so much emotional and mental stress. Plus, the added bonus of discovering the natural world and all its beauty is healing.

Beauty: Surround yourself with beauty as best you can! Maybe this is regularly buying flowers, visiting a garden, or buying yourself a piece of art or For the Girls pink wind chimes, because beauty has the power to help us feel joy and possibility.

We know these are just simple, little things you can do, but they point to even better things. Start where you are, lean on other people, and keep going. New, good things are always ahead.