Navigating the Holidays During a Cancer Diagnosis

Dec 22, 2022 | Angie Murad | @muradangie

A cancer diagnosis for you or a loved one can be difficult any time of year, but the holiday season can intensify emotions bringing on feelings of stress and anxiety. It is important to realize there is not a one-size-fits all approach to coping with cancer around the holidays.

You might not be feeling well or have the energy for running errands or celebrating. Here are a five strategies on how to cope and celebrate this holiday season.

5 Tips on how to cope with cancer during the holidays.

Find balance. Make plans with friends, family, or co-workers over the holidays to find joy and happiness instead of being alone. However, give yourself permission to decide what gatherings are most important to you. Build in time for rest to give you the energy to enjoy time with loved ones.

Create new holiday rituals to enjoy special moments. A change in roles or traditions can be difficult, but often when we look at the essence of holiday traditions, they are about spending time together. Relieve yourself of the pressure of cooking and instead host a potluck or enjoy quiet time by the fire listening to music.

Practice healthy habits. The holidays can change daily routines. It is important to eat well, maintain good hydration, get enough sleep, and exercise. Taking walks with family and friends is one way to fight fatigue and manage stress.

Prepare for emotions and uncomfortable conversations. Talking with family or friends who you have not seen in a while before their visit may be important to prepare them for any changes in your appearance such as weight or hair loss. Thinking through answers to tough questions ahead of time can help you decide what and how much you want to share. Expressing emotions with tears, laughter, and apprehension with family and friends can be a relief and a healthy way to deal with the uncertainty that a cancer diagnosis brings.

Celebrate strengths. Your diagnosis may be one of your biggest challenges, but you may discover during the holiday’s strength and courage you and your loved ones never knew you had.

What are other ways you have coped during the holidays?

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