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Do’s and Don’ts for Coping with the Holidays

When you have cancer, the holidays are different than they were before your diagnosis. That’s normal. You might feel pressure (from yourself or those around you) to put on a happy face and push through your anxiety, fatigue, and sadness for the sake of others. While this feels like a great short-term solution, in the long term it is harmful to your health.

This holiday season, keep these tips in mind. Your health is important. And you might be surprised at how much the people around you want to help and support you.

DO give yourself permission to feel all your feelings. There are no “right” or “wrong” ways to feel during the holidays or any other time.

DO remember to communicate what you need and want clearly. You can say, “I wish I could but…” or “This year I need to…”

DO change traditions if you need to… it doesn’t need to be forever, maybe just for this year.

DO slow down. Practice being in and appreciating the present moment.

DON’T get caught up in the unrealistic “fairy tale” of creating the perfect holiday.

DON’T exhaust yourself trying to make the holidays good for everyone else.

DON’T fall into the trap of spending more on gifts to make yourself feel better. A heartfelt letter is technically free but also priceless.

DON’T feel bad about asking for help. This creates community and tells others that you trust them.

Stress is inevitable; how we cope with it is a choice.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday,
Board and Staff at Cancer Services