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Dealing with Cancer During the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year during which we spend time with family and friends, relax, eat, drink, and gift each other. However, the holidays can also be an enormously stressful time of year – there’s no doubt about it. There’s the running around spending money we often don’t have, overdoing it on the food and drink, and spending time in situations where drama can very easily ensue. It can be a challenging time for anyone but for someone who is undergoing treatment for cancer, the added stress can feel unmanageable. What’s the best way to cope?

With a little planning head, cancer patients and their loved ones can help minimize the stress during the holidays and make it an enjoyable time for everyone.

How do you prepare for the holidays?

  • Take care of yourself a little more than normal. Ideally, you’re doing all that you can to care for yourself during your treatments including eating healthy, resting when you feel tired, and getting some exercise when you’re up for it. This is critical to continue during the holidays – with an even greater level of commitment. If you haven’t been making yourself a priority then now is definitely the time.
  • Take frequent time-outs. It’s not necessary for you to attend every holiday function. If you’re feeling tired or simply not up to the festivities, give yourself permission to opt out. And when you are at an event, take a time-out if you need it by finding a quite place to rest, sip some tea, and just relax.
  • Be kind to yourself. The holidays can come equipped with some serious pressures for perfection. Let yourself off the hook. It’s okay to do what you can do. Perfection is not attainable and it shouldn’t be a priority. Doing things that make you happy – whether it’s hanging out with friends, watching a movie you love, reading a book, or getting a massage – are acts of kindness for yourself and you should indulge as much as you can.
  • Surround yourself with people who love you and offer you a soft place to rest. Emotional support is important when you are undergoing cancer treatment and it’s especially important during the holidays. Spend time with the people you love and who offer you unconditional support.

The holiday season is a time for peace and a time to make memories. Do your best to stay in the moment, take care of yourself, and enjoy the season.

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