Holiday Stress

Posted by Merry, Volunteer Mentor @merpreb, Dec 14, 2019

This time of year is very tough on everyone – from shopping to parties and cocktails to cards and gifts and seasonal colds and the flu. It is especially tough for anyone who is ill, or just recently diagnosed with an illness. For those of us who have a diagnosis already we need to really protect ourselves. There are so many people around in every possible shop and happy greetings where escaping germs is literally impossible.
So what do we do about that? I'll tell you what I do, I set limits. If I'm being introduced to someone new I won't hug at all. And if I need to explain I will. I have lung cancer. And I'll just say a simple thank you to their understanding. Or I've also said, I'm not feeling well, best for me to not shake your hand or hug.
I also make a list for what is a priority – By priorities I mean that I list what is absolutely essential for me to take care of myself – appointments, tests, scans, etc. I try and space them out so I'm not in a medical facility if I don't have to be. But if you are feeling ill do take care of it, not matter what events are coming up for you. Don't let social pressure intimidate you to go to as many parties as possible. The last thing that I want is to be stressed out to the point of losing my energy to go, go, go.
Then it's time for priorities for any social events that I want to go to and RSVP. I do not go to more than one a week. I then shop as much on line as possible for gifts. One for you, one for me! lol I also ask for help as much as I need it.
This is also a time to try and use relaxation techniques as much as possible. Use Mayo Connect for support and help as much as you need it. For those of us on this site lung cancer can make us feel very down or lonely. Make every effort to be with someone. No matter how tough things seem we are all here and alive. If you are having a particularly bad time reach out to comfort someone. The feelings of doing so will make you all tingly and warm inside. When you are on Connect you are never alone.
I wish everyone a peaceful, healthy holiday!
What do you do to cut down on stress during the holidays?

@merpreb Really good advice above! There is so much possible stress out there during the holidays. It is easy to overdo, forget to take care of ourselves and let the stresses and strains affect us negatively physically and emotionally. Being older now, I don't do the decorations, cooking, shopping, and visiting that I used to do. I also try and get a lot of rest that my body and mind need. This year I have begun to stop being such a news-addicted person and listen more to soothing music–love classical–when I am at home. When possible I avoid crowds and like you above, don't get all huggy. I don't need to get ill anytime, but it seems especially easy to do during the holidays. Don't have any close family any longer so that has cut down on a lot of stress and strain. I wish I had some true friends closer to me so as not to feel so lonely, but at heart, I'm more of a loaner than a social butterfly. Having been diagnosed with cancer–lung cancer in this instance–it certainly changes one's perspective of life. Don't want to bother acquaintances with the nagging worries of cancer 'what-ifs. Thus, I try and live in the moment. I have today. I work to think that way. All this sounds so simple and I'm the first to say it is not simple, but when I can live for each day, it really helps. I also try and stop and think of the things for which I am grateful–there are many things that are positive in our lives each day. Will stop running on now. I wish everyone and their families a loving and joyful holiday season and a blessed New Year. Don't know what I'd do without all of you!

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@alamogal635– Happy holidays! It's so good to hear from you! I hope that you aren't alone for Christmas! Is there a religious feast that you can join somewhere or a senior center?

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@merpreb Yes, I belong to a small church–the folks are great There are lots of opportunities to do things where I live. I just don't have the verve and desire to get out socially like I used to do and attend concerts, etc.. It works for me. and I"m not complaining.

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