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Topic of the Month: Coping With Cancer During the Holidays

Topic of the Month: Coping With Cancer During the Holidays

Holidays are traditionally viewed as a time to celebrate. Many people enjoy reuniting with family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, and celebrating religious traditions during this time. However, sometimes people with cancer and their loved ones feel "out of step" from the rest of the world during the holidays. In fact, the holiday season can prompt new questions, such as: How do I take care of the holiday rush and myself at the same time? How can I celebrate when I have so many other things on my mind? What will my life be like next year? Sharing these concerns with the people you love and who love you can help you feel more connected.

How Should I Manage Fatigue During the Busy Holiday Season?

First, discuss any change in your energy level with your doctor. Then, make a list of the events you usually participate in and choose the favorites you would like to continue.

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Enlist Support

Enlist support for organizing holiday gatherings, meal preparation, and cleanup.  Here are some additional tips and resources.

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Holiday Eating Tips

We all have wonderful food memories associated with the holidays. Maybe it is a favorite dish made by a loved one or a special memory of decorating cookies with your grandchildren. But during cancer treatment, visions of sugar plums may bring anxiety. When you are having trouble eating or keeping food down, the thought of holiday gatherings and meals can fill you with dread.

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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

For many, the holidays signal a time of stress, loneliness and sadness. For grieving families, including those affected by long-term illnesses such as cancer, these emotions are often overwhelming.

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Helping Kids Cope

Holidays are times of excitement, tradition, and family togetherness. When a family must also face cancer during those times, the hectic but expected routine of these special days and occasions may well be challenged or changed.

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Remember the True Meaning

Don’t concentrate on what may be missing, what tradition wasn't kept, or what may be different about this year's holiday season from years past. Try to focus on the present moment and enjoy your celebration in whatever form it takes. Remember what the holidays are truly about – a time for renewed friendships, being thankful, and sharing with others.

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Listen to the Cancer.Net Podcast: Cancer and the Holidays

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