Holidays & Cancer

Tips for Patients with Cancer to Keep the Holiday Cheer

Find ways to keep your holiday traditions going and your mood upbeat.
Web Exclusives – December 14, 2018
John Parkinson

You well know that cancer does not take note of the calendar. It does not acknowledge seasons or holidays. During this time of year, people are excited about the impending holidays. For a patient with cancer undergoing treatment like you, or as a survivor who has finished treatment, your thoughts often go to cancer.

Even with cancer, it’s good for you to find ways to celebrate the holidays and keep the season’s cheer.

Keep up your holiday traditions
The first thing is to keep normal routines by trying to continue your holiday traditions. Always consult your provider when you are not sure if something is okay to do, but if you celebrate Christmas, and there is a certain weekend that you decorate your tree—do it again this year. The focus on the decorations and getting the house ready for Santa can help take your mind off cancer and change your mood. If you have a holiday show you see every year, buy tickets and go see it if you can.

Create a holiday mood
Create daily routines that remind you of the holidays. Play the holiday music, light the scented candles, trim the tree, and enjoy some eggnog.

Emotional support
Whether it is leaning on family and friends, or joining a support group, it is important to have people around you to air your feelings, your fears, and what this juggernaut called cancer has you thinking, especially during this time of year.

Treat yourself
Depending on where you are in your treatment phase (active treatment, survivorship), take time to enjoy the little things, such as a holiday food, or do something you have been wanting to do but haven’t because you were busy. Make these little things a priority.

Those of you who are taking care of someone with cancer, it is vital for you to do things for yourself. You carry a big responsibility, and you need to give yourself breaks from the disease as well.

Holiday celebrations
Along with getting the house ready for the holidays, make sure to stay connected with family and friends by attending holiday celebrations. Go on a holiday shopping lunch with friends; go to the office holiday party if you are employed; with your doctor’s approval, go on that holiday trip you’ve always wanted to take; and make sure to include yourself if your family or friends have a holiday party or get-together. Although your inclination may be to stay away from people, especially if you do not feel or look like yourself, be social and communicate with others. Being around happiness may affect you in a positive way and, in turn, may make you happier and provide hope.

Positive attitude
The most important thing is that this positive attitude can help your quality of life. It can be especially challenging for people with cancer, but finding life’s little joys and continuing the holiday traditions can be significant and change your perspective for the better. So, take a moment to savor your traditions this year!

How do you keep the spirits up during the holiday season? Share your tips with CONQUER: the patient voice!

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