5 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

The holidays are a stressful time even when you are not sick. Hours of shopping, putting up decorations, and cooking meals and baking cookies – it is no wonder that this time of year can wear a person down. When you are battling an illness like cancer, staying healthy has to take priority. That is easy to say, but not easy to do when the holidays create memories that no one wants to miss. Staying organized and listening to your body is the key to dealing with the stress of holiday season with cancer.

Don’t Let Depression Rule You

Between the anxiety of being ill and the hectic holiday schedule, it is easy to give into depression this time of year. Depression directly affects the ability of the immune system to fight infections. Certain triggers can elevate depression like financial struggles or missing family members. You need to be realistic about your abilities. If your cash flow is low because of your illness, talk it out with your family. Plan gifts you can give that don’t cost much money or exert a lot of pressure on you.

Keep the Planning Simple

On top of all the planning and festivities, cancer patients must deal with fatigue and discomfort from treatments. Sit down and discuss ways to simplify the season for everyone. This year, plan a basic menu each member of the household can contribute to. Consider one or two big gifts instead of a dozen small ones. This would be a good time to take part in a gift swap or to donate to a favorite charity in a loved one’s name instead of buying presents.

Don’t Ignore How You Feel

Managing an illness takes a toll on you both physically and emotionally. Going through the holidays ignoring the fact that you have cancer is not helpful. This is not the time to try to push through or pretend nothing is wrong. Dealing with your feelings is not only practical, it is healthy.

Pass It On

If you are one of those people who likes to cook all the treats and wrap all the gifts, you might need to ask for help or delegate. Your body is going through tough treatments that will leave you physically drained. If you try to do it all, you will only wear yourself too thin. This year, supervise the activities. It is a good time to teach the kids how to make cookies or let them do the decorations. You can be a part of the fun without doing all the work yourself.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy Life

The holiday season is all about joy and family. That has not changed just because you are ill. Don’t forget the spirit of the season. Spend more time with your loved ones and less time with your disease. By keeping that in mind, you will remain in the spirit and make it a holiday to remember for everyone.