Breast Cancer During The Holidays Can Drag You Down
If you are currently getting treatment for breast cancer or recently finished, the holiday season can be difficult. Most of the time, women with breast cancer are just trying to get through each day – one step, one treatment, one day, one hour at a time. The holiday season often means planning, which can be hard under the circumstances of a cancer diagnosis or treatment.
Physically, it may be hard to accomplish all of the things you set out to do.
Can you host dinner for your extended family on Christmas Eve like usual? Will you be able to run around and shop for gifts in person? Are you going to be too tired or compromised to attend the holiday parties you look forward to all year?
Emotionally, the holidays can weigh on even the most positive breast cancer patient. Planning ahead may be difficult because of treatment schedules or your diagnosis.
An approaching new year often brings with it complex feelings – concerns about the future, nostalgia for the past, and uncertainty about life in general. Depending on where you are on your breast cancer journey, the holidays can bring intense feelings of joy, sorrow, or both.
What can you do to make this time of year a bit easier to navigate? Lauren from Breastcancernow.org is a breast cancer patient who has a birthday right around Christmas. She shares with readers some suggested ways to manage throughout the holiday season. Here, we will look at a few of Lauren’s tips.
Tips To Manage The Holidays When You Have Breast Cancer (And Even When You Don’t)
The holidays can be challenging for everyone – not just women with breast cancer. Not everyone enters the holiday season feeling hopeful and excited. Even under the best circumstances, you might feel lonely, regretful, and anxious. When you have cancer, physical limitations and heightened emotions can make navigating the holidays even more difficult.
These tips from Lauren can serve as helpful reminders to everyone as they enter this festive time of year.
First and foremost, be kind to yourself. Self-care is critical to making it through the holidays when you have breast cancer and when you don’t. How can you practice self-care?
- Don’t feel like you have to say “yes” to everything. You might be afraid of missing out on something fun, but don’t let this cause you to say “yes” to every single invite you receive. It is ok to be selective and make thoughtful decisions to attend or not attend an event or gathering. When you limit yourself to the things you really want to do, you may find them more satisfying than if you spread yourself too thin.
- Invite people to your place. Don’t feel like going out? Invite people over. This can be a good way to ensure you are with the people you love the most. Have a pajama party! Watch some movies! Order in! Relaxing with your besties can make a huge difference in your mental state.
- Try to get fresh air. If you live in cold weather, try bundling up and heading outside to sit awhile or take a leisurely walk if you are able. If you are in warm weather, it should be even easier. Fresh air and some exercise can go a long way toward making you feel better!
- Make some playlists. Music can soothe, energize, bring comfort and joy. Put together some playlists that make you smile, laugh (or cry if that is what you need). Music has the power to evoke just about every emotion out there. The right playlist might just get you on your feet for a little dancing too!
- Find support. Make sure you have someone to talk to about any struggles you are having during the holidays. It can be a friend, family member, support group, helpline, community member, or hotline. It is not always easy to reach out when you need help, but doing so can benefit your emotional and physical health.
- Reflect on your accomplishments. Take a few minutes every day or night to write down something you are grateful for or things you have accomplished. This might seem hard to do in the midst of or following a breast cancer battle, but it can help. It is always beneficial to remember that there are silver linings, so to speak. Good things can occur simultaneously with bad. And recognizing small accomplishments can make you feel more satisfied with your daily life.
Write all of these things down. Look at them to remind yourself that you are trying your hardest to tend to your physical and emotional well-being.
Having breast cancer during the holidays can be difficult. Practicing these acts of self-care can make it a bit easier and ensure you have a satisfying and healthy holiday season. Remember to be kind to yourself and forgiving of your limitations. Moderate your expectations if needed-there is no single definition of what makes a “perfect” holiday. Make it perfect for you and the people who matter the most in your life.
Send Helpful Cancer Gift Baskets This Holiday Season
If someone you love has cancer, send them a helpful cancer gift basket from Rock The Treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.