1. Know your limits
Knowing your limits will set the foundation for your holiday season this year. Understand you might not do all the things you could previous years and honor that. You know how fatigued you feel and how much you can handle, but also letting others know this as well can be helpful. Limit your activities to a level you can actually enjoy this holiday season.
2. Lower your expectations
It’s easy to get swept up in the holidays and want to have the perfect christmas despite the cancer. Planning to attend all the holiday events, eat all the food and do all the things, yet when you discover you cannot accomplish these things you feel let down and frustrated. By lowering your expectations you will be much happier and less likely to be disappointed. Try taking the holidays day by day and be grateful for what you have. Set modest realistic expectations for yourself and don’t over-commit.
3. Stay positive
The holiday blues are real which is why when it’s a time of the year that most people are prone to stress and depression, cancer patients should take extra care because they are at an even higher risk. Try looking for the positives and focus on them. Surround yourself with positive people who inspire you through your cancer journey. Consider a daily mantra for positive thinking. It’s also ok to not feel positive all the time, letting yourself grieve and talking to another person about that grief is part of the healing process.
4. Practice stress relief
You are stressed about your diagnose. You are stressed about cancer treatment. You are stressed about your future. And now you are stressed about the holidays. Your stress is probably at an all-time high and for good reason, try to practice good stress relief. Reach out to family or friends for emotional support. Take time for yourself and relax. Focus on things that make you happy you may have forgotten about since the diagnosis. Give yourself a break, it’s ok to not do a lot for the holidays this year.
5. Prepare family and friends of your condition
Along with worrying over all the cancer symptoms you’re probably experiencing, you might also worry about how your family will react. You may not eat food this year at holiday gatherings and your appearance might have changed. Preparing your family for this so they know what to expect will help both parties involved. Inform your family of your condition before the family gathering, it can be tiring having to repeat yourself to each individual person. It might also help to have one person relay your medical updates for you and keep everyone up to date. Take charge in conversations, your family might not know how to have a conversation with you in fear anything they say will upset you. Let your family know it’s ok to talk about your cancer (if you feel like talking about it) otherwise if you would rather talk about another topic, that’s ok too.
For more cancer support, checkout our specialized Cancer Warriors program and see how we can help.