For those battling cancer, the holidays can be a welcome distraction or a miserable season. Don’t let cancer suck your enjoyment out of the season or let precious moments with family and friends pass you by. Here are a few tips to help decrease stress and increase enjoyment:

Make new traditions

As you may already realize, adjusting your lifestyle is a necessity when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or a terminal illness and the holidays are no exception. You may want to relive holidays past, but that’s the quickest way to overwhelm and disappoint yourself. The golden rules for celebrating while managing cancer is “keep things simple” and “ask for help.” Be sure to scale back your activities and don’t pressure yourself with unrealistic expectations. Have you traditionally hosted a feast and been in charge of entertainment? This year, turn your social gathering into a potluck and have family members bring a dish, or switch up hosting duties and relocate the celebration. Ask for help cleaning up.  It’s time to save your energy and focus on creating new holiday traditions for you and your family.

Holiday Shopping and Budgeting

Your usual holiday shopping habits need an adjustment, as well. Can’t get to the mall? Try online shopping, catalogs, gift certificates or even ask a friend to grab a few things. If money is tight, remember that homemade cookies, cards or even a simple phone call are always appreciated. Never underestimate the value of a short note or call to let others know you’re thinking of them. If you are in need of serious financial support to cover medical bills, living expenses or even some holiday shopping, you may want to consider a viatical settlement to relieve financial worries during the holidays.

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Me time

However, you choose to spend your holidays and whatever new traditions you create, be sure to incorporate some “me time” into your plans. This will help guard against any overwhelming and helpless feelings. Take time to relax and enjoy simple things like hot baths, naps and your favorite foods. Learn to say “no” to some holiday engagements. Traveling to see friends and family is already exhausting when you’re healthy, let alone battling a disease, so avoid any guilt trips.

Remember the true meaning of the holidays and focus on the present moment. Enjoy time with friends and family, be thankful for the time you have with them, and grateful for the ability to create new traditions. The holidays can be overwhelming, so just remember to speak up and express your feelings, whatever they may be.

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