Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

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The holiday season may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be tiring and stressful; for cancer patients, their families and caregivers, the season can become truly overwhelming. Dealing with the emotional and physical impacts of a cancer diagnosis, or with treatments and side effects, can be particularly challenging when everyone else seems to be happily celebrating. Here are some very basic tips to help patients and caregivers cope with holiday stress:

  • Be realistic: Whether you’re the patient or the caregiver, you may have less free time and/or energy than in past holiday seasons, so holiday traditions may need to be modified.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate: Traditions can be modified without being forsaken. Spending time with family and friends can still be enjoyable this time of year, even if the circumstances are different than usual.
  • Simplify: Shop online or by phone, and consider letting others do the baking, gift wrapping and entertaining this year.
  • Talk and listen: Patients and caregivers should communicate with each other about holiday plans and expectations. If there’s an event or activity either of you isn’t feeling up to, don’t be afraid to say so.
  • Reach out: If your loved ones aren’t nearby and you find yourself struggling or lonely during the holidays, speak to your healthcare provider, who can direct you to resources that can help.

To find more information online, visit our Resources page and click on “Support for the Holidays,” where you’ll find several useful links.