Living with Cancer during the Holidays
For those facing advanced-stage cancer during the holidays, it can feel impossible to get into the holiday spirit. Cancer and its treatments bring numerous physical and emotional changes that make it difficult to keep up with the season’s many demands, including traveling, visiting, hosting, shopping, planning, decorating, and more.
As the end of the year approaches, there are several key steps to managing stress during the holidays:
- Manage expectations for holiday gatherings. In years past, you may have always decorated the entire house, prepared an elaborate dinner, or traveled across the country to gather with family. This year, fatigue, discomfort, and changes in mobility may mean that this won’t be possible. Modify traditions or create new ones that work with the challenges you’re facing, such as a potluck dinner instead of a one-chef feast or a special evening at home cozied up with your loved ones instead of ice skating or caroling.
- Express your feelings. It’s normal to feel a sense of sadness or loss that the holidays will not be identical to those in years past, but the presence of friends and family may create a pressure to pretend that everything is happy and joyful. Talk to a trusted loved one or a counselor about how you feel.
- Take care of yourself. You don’t have to accept every invitation; choose only those events you will be able to handle and enjoy and don’t hesitate to take breaks from festivities as needed. If friends and family members offer to take some of the burdens of planning or hosting the holidays away from you, accept.
- Keep to your dietary restrictions. Many individuals with cancer have dietary guidelines to help them manage the symptoms of their condition or their treatment. For instance, this guide for pancreatic cancer patients can help them navigate their eating habits during the holidays. Stick to these guidelines and avoid overindulging on seasonal food and beverages. Healthy living techniques like exercise, plenty of sleep, and meditation are also important parts of coping with holiday stress.
- Reassess gift-giving. If you are struggling financially, your loved ones will understand if you need to scale back on gifts. If you do choose to give gifts this year, shop online, take advantage of the numerous free shipping offers available during the holidays, or you can give gifts that you crafted, or knitted, yourself! Gift cards, available at most grocery stores, are also an excellent way to avoid the stress and physical drain of the holiday retail rush.
If the costs of cancer treatment have created a considerable source of holiday stress, Fifth Season Financial may be able to help. Through Fifth Season’s Funds for Living and Giving (FLAG) Program, clients can obtain an advance on their life insurance policies while preserving funds for beneficiaries to receive in the future. There are no restrictions on the use of these funds, families can use them to pay medical bills, travel for the holidays, give gifts to loved ones, and more. If Fifth Season’s FLAG Program can help with coping with cancer during the holidays, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!