Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Tap into holiday cheer

For many people, the holiday season is a time filled with joy, family and celebration. However, if you have recently been diagnosed with cancer or you are currently going through treatment, the holiday season may also be a time of stress and uncertainty.

There are some simple ways to combat these concerns, to help you relax and enjoy the good tidings the holidays can bring.

Enjoying the holidays

The holiday season provides an opportunity to take a break from any stress or worries, so that you can focus on celebrating with your friends and loved ones.

Here are nine tips to help you stay healthy and happy this holiday season:

  1. Discuss travel plans with your doctor – Before making travel plans, check in with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for a holiday trip. If your doctor recommends staying put, perhaps your friends and loved ones can come to you this year.
  2. Don’t push yourself – Be aware of the physical stress that traveling and entertaining can put on your body, and be careful not to overextend yourself. You’re allowed to be picky about where you go and what you do, so that you can reserve energy for the activities you enjoy the most.
  3. Talk About Your Feelings – Sharing your feelings with others can help alleviate stress during this time. People who haven’t seen you in a while may not know what to say, so let them know what’s OK to discuss and what’s off limits. This will make you, and everyone around you, feel more comfortable.
  4. Keep your normal routine – Keeping your schedule as close to normal as possible can help you feel your best over the holiday break. Lessen the stress on your body by continuing to eat well and get a good night’s sleep.
  5. Set realistic expectations – Set goals for cooking and shopping that make sense and know your limits. This can help you stay focused and avoid getting worn out. You can still decorate and cook a festive meal if you feel up to it, as long as these are achievable goals.
  6. Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to everything from traveling to picking up a hostess gift before a party. Your friends and family will understand that you may need help during this time, and they’ll be happy to assist.
  7. Eat wisely – Baked goods and fattening treats are going to be available at every turn during the holidays. Allow yourself to splurge a little to enjoy the festivities, but try not to go overboard. Maintaining a healthy diet is important during cancer treatment, and choosing the right foods can help you stay nourished and strong.
  8. Take time for yourself – Even if you are surrounded by family and friends during the holidays, make sure to take a little time for yourself each day. Meditate, read a book, take naps or just find a place to sit and be alone. It’s important to stay in tune with what’s going on with your body among the chaos that the holidays can sometimes bring.
  9. Participate in festive activities – Make an effort to participate in festive, holiday activities to help you get into the spirit. Even if you are spending Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah at the hospital, take part in the holiday activities that are offered to remember the wonderful cheer that the holidays represent. Tapping into these positive feelings, even slightly, could boost your spirits and help you regain the strength you need to continue your fight.
  10. Focus on the things you enjoy – Try not to dwell on how this year is different from past holidays. Instead, focus on the positive changes that have occurred and build new traditions for the future. Honor that the holidays are about being thankful for what we have and being with family, loved ones and friends.