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The holiday season is in full swing and, for some caregivers, their stress levels are in full swing too. While generally being thought of as a time for gift giving and fun parties, the holidays are also notorious for being tough to get through. When you're acting as a caregiver to a loved one with cancer, it can be difficult to keep things “normal” around the holidays. There is nothing that says you can’t create a new normal though! Read these tips to help keep the holidays jolly and bright as a caregiver!
Communicate Your Feelings
Communicating with your loved one throughout the holidays is the best way to let each other know how you’re feeling and what you need during this busy time. Knowing what you’re comfortable with and capable of from the start of the season will help you both breeze through this time of year. Holidays and special occasions can bring up different emotions for different people, so having a greater understanding of each other will help make the season go well emotionally.
Create New Traditions
Some past traditions may have involved big parties or a lot of preparing, like making a big meal, for a caregiver or for a loved one. After a cancer diagnosis, these larger plans may have to be adjusted. Perhaps host a party at a new location or have a potluck to ease some of the preparation that has to go into a big meal. Another option is to consider making a party guest list smaller as well. Creating new traditions will keep the holidays fun and less cumbersome.
Take Care of Yourself
The tried and true caregiver advice is to take care of yourself first, and it remains true at this time of year as well. Taking time off from your caregiving duties to make sure you get adequate rest, exercise, and nutrition is just as important as taking care of your patient. If you are not well, your loved one will suffer too. Since the holiday season can be taxing on any individual, making your holiday season manageable as a caregiver is doubly important.
During the holiday season, the giving nature of people seems to shine brightest. If you have a family member or friend offer to help you out in some way, like doing some cooking, cleaning or shopping for you, take them up on their offer! You’ll get a break and your family member or friend will also feel good about being able to help.
With some extra hands and new traditions, you can find the holidays just as enjoyable as ever for yourself and your loved one with cancer. Connect with our online community and share other ways to survive the holidays as a caregiver.