It’s ok to feel Bah Humbug this Christmas

Published: 17 Dec 2019

“It's the most wonderful time of the year” ... isn’t it?  Except for many people, this year, it may not be - especially if you or someone you know is dealing with cancer or undergoing treatment. 

If you’re feeling unwell, not able to do as much as you usually do and not going out or doing all your normal festive traditions, being confronted everywhere with happy looking, picture-perfect, wholesome, healthy hearty families in matching Christmas outfits can be hard to bear. In fact, so many things about this holiday season seem designed to make anyone who’s not totally on top of their game feel ‘Bah Humbug!’

But remember … it’s fine to be a bit ‘Bah Humbug’ this year and don’t feel guilty about it either!

Here are some bah humbugs and ideas that might help, if only a little

If you’ve arranged to do something but aren’t feeling up to it, take the pressure off having to call up and decline - ask someone close to you to be your spokesperson this season and make your excuses on your behalf.

You don’t have to. It’s at times like these you should ask for help. More often than not people are waiting for you to ask. And if someone doesn’t do things up to your usual standards, don’t fret, just enjoy the ‘not having to do it’!

That’s fine, It’s OK to let certain holiday traditions go this year, ask your chosen ‘spokesperson’ to let people know you will be opting out this year – they’re sure to understand.

Plan for those days you choose to spend curled up on the sofa - research some movies or box sets that you’ve always wanted to watch and have them on stand-by.

Stock up on a wide selection of all your favorite snacks and treats in advance – so all you need to do is raid your cupboard.

Turn off your social media notifications! But don’t log out of the Chemotherapy Support Group on Facebook. Groups like this one can be a lifesaver when you’re feeling low.

Depending on your religion, get in touch with your spiritual side – it may help.  Christmas has become an over-commercialized time of year – so go back to its roots and reflect on what it's really about.

Think about how you feel – although you might want to lock yourself away, is that really going to make you feel better – probably not! Don’t dwell on the negatives - invite a couple of close friends over, explain you'd just like their company and ask them to each bring a dish so you don't need to cook.  Many of your friends will be there waiting to help, they're just unsure how, so give them some instructions.

Don’t do this!  You need to get out of the house. Go for a short walk or a ride in the car whenever you can. Getting some fresh air and a change of scene may make you feel better. Ask a friend to drive you out to a place you love – the countryside, a park, the sea or a hilltop view. Taking in broad landscapes and connecting with nature can be soothing.

This year it’s good to do the holiday season in your own way and at your pace. It can also be good to remember that across the world millions of people have different circumstances and celebrate in different ways. Some are sick, some don’t have enough food let alone presents and others are in places of conflict and uncertainty. Let this give you some perspective and don't judge your circumstances by Hollywood's holiday films or your seemingly perfect neighbor's family. Just let it be whatever it is for you this year.

If you or someone you know is struggling at this time of year, reach out and let them know you’re there.  Or join the Chemotherapy Support Group where thousands of people from across the world will be chatting to each other and offering support this Christmas.

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