A few tips on coping with cancer at Christmas time

Published: 18 Dec 2017

The holiday season can make people feel more emotional than at any other time of year. Whether it’s the twinkly lights, the caroling, or the idea of spending time with loved ones, deep-rooted feeling often rise to the surface. 

These feelings can be positive if you’re having a good year. But if you’re finding it tough going, they can be difficult to deal with. This is completely natural; when you were trimming the tree this time twelve months ago, it probably didn’t cross your mind that you would be fighting cancer this year.

But the fact of the matter is it’s Christmas again, and even if you’re not in a good place emotionally, everyone expects you to be happy. Sometimes it comes easy – other times you’re scraping yourself off the floor to go to church, or the family gathering, or any other occasion when you need to plaster a smile on your face.

If you’re coping with cancer this Christmas, we’ve put together four tips to make the next couple of weeks a bit easier. Hopefully they to help you get through the holiday season, while still look after your own wellbeing… 

Tip 1 – give yourself a break

Even fully healthy people feel frazzled this time of year. Make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Let someone else host Christmas lunch this year; accept offers of help from friends and family; shop online to save time and energy. It’s OK to put yourself first.

Tip 2 – plan Christmas around you

In the season of giving, it’s not natural to think of ourselves – yet you’re the most important person this year. If you’re dreading travelling to see family and friends this Christmas, why not meet them closer to home ? Equally, if you’d rather have a smaller, close family-only celebration, go for it. The people that matter will understand.

Tip 3 – put a support network in place

If you’ve got a big family, or you’ve chosen to visit a number of friends and relatives this holiday season, make sure you have a strong support network in place, in case you feel a bit overwhelmed. Assign one or two close loved ones to be your ‘go to’ people if you want to leave the party early, or take a bit of quiet time. They can tell the rest of your group, to save you from any awkwardness.  

Tip 4 – find ways to make you feel good

Cancer is a big deal, and it can fundamentally affect the way you feel about yourself, and your life. As a result, usual traditions may not feel right.