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Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

Virginia Cancer Specialists Practice Blog

December 02, 2015
Virginia Cancer Specialists » VCS Practice News » Blog Post » Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

For cancer patients, the holidays can be a tough time. Everywhere you look, you’re being encouraged to be cheerful and for some, it’s difficult to feel merry when health problems are your number one focus. Here are some great ideas to help bring comfort to you and your family and friends this season.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There are still things you will most likely need to take care of, like holiday shopping, cooking or decorating. While these things can be a great distraction to keep your mind off of other not-so-fun things, they can be daunting when you’re thinking about your health. Organize a craft day with friends and family and let them help you with the decorating. You could do the same for cooking and baking, and the company of your loved ones can really help warm your spirits.

Don’t be afraid to say no.

If there are some things you just aren’t excited about no matter how hard you try, it’s ok to tell others you don’t want to participate in certain activities this year. It is understandable that you want to use your energy wisely, and it’s important to rest when your body is telling you it needs it.

Take part in simple pleasures that make you happy.

Even if it’s soaking in a bubble bath or curling up by your fireplace with your favorite book, taking the time to do things you know you will enjoy will help lift your spirits and get you through the tougher times. Another idea is to take a drive with friends or family to look at holiday lights and decorations around your neighborhood or town and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Take care of your body.

It helps to feel better when we exercise and eat healthy foods. Though it can be challenging to stay healthy during the holidays, sticking to an exercise routine can really help you feel better about accomplishing a goal. Research some healthy holiday recipes you might not have known about before and share them with your friends and family.

Don’t try to do too many activities in one day.

If holiday parties are a good distraction for you, keep in mind that your body also needs rest and care. Don’t overwhelm yourself by committing to multiple outings or events in one day, but instead plan out your schedule considering how you’ll feel after a few hours of shopping or holiday baking. Then prioritize and always allow time for rest throughout the day.

Share your feelings.

Your loved ones want to be there for you through the good times and the bad, so don’t be afraid to show tears, laughter, fear, happiness, or whatever you may be feeling. Letting out your feelings can bring a sense of relief and rejuvenation, especially around those who care most about you.

There are many support groups to turn to, even after the holidays and throughout the year, that are available to help with coping and to help with questions you may have about cancer. Talk to your oncologist and ask for recommendations for support groups in your area.