Celebrating the Holidays After a Cancer Diagnosis

Dec 17 • 2015

A cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling many things. Maybe it leaves you feeling numb. During the holiday season, it can seem impossible to celebrate when the weight of this news is heavy on your heart. The key to enjoying this time of year during such a chaotic chapter in your life is to be open and honest with your loved ones. Remember these tips for encouragement when you may be feeling despondent.

Find a Balance
The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family, which can be great because it also provides you with a support system for your cancer diagnosis. If you’re feeling down and need to be around your loved ones, make plans to decorate your home, go shopping for gifts or take a drive through the neighborhood to view lights in the evening. However, remember that it is important to spend time resting, too. If you’re feeling tired, don’t hesitate to say no to a planned get-together or leave a party early. Find the right balance between entertaining and relaxing so you have the energy you need for the most important events.

Allow Others to Help
If you’re usually the host of a large family dinner this time of year, consider having it catered or asking people to contribute to the menu so you don’t have to be responsible for all of the cooking. Have friends and family help with setting up, cleaning, and any other tasks you may have laid out for the day so you can conserve energy. If you’re feeling burnt out, don’t be afraid to sit down, put your feet up, and enjoy time relaxing with your loved ones.

Share Your Emotions
The holidays can be a tough time for people for a variety of reasons. Getting past the initial shock and grief that may come with a cancer diagnosis is important, so take whatever steps you need to do so. When family and friends are gathered, consider sharing your feelings about the disease – even if it means crying or making yourself more vulnerable than you typically would be. By letting others know what you’re going through emotionally, you can get the support you need to stay strong. Being surrounded by loved ones that may not always be around on a daily basis can help reinforce the love you have and dispel some of the negative feelings that may be overwhelming you.

A cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to ruin your holiday season. Remember that there are so many things to be grateful for, and lean on the love and support of your family and friends.