As Part of Cancer Treatment, How to Handle Holidays? Additionally, it can make things more difficult if you’re receiving cancer treatment. There are many obstacles to enjoying this time of year, from managing large family gatherings while immunocompromised to exhaustion and buying gifts for loved ones while dealing with the financial hardship caused by illness.
Here are some tips for maintaining your physical, mental, and financial well-being while receiving cancer treatment over the holidays.
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Put Your Health First
The holidays are a time of group gatherings and long lists of commitments — which could easily lead to exhaustion.
Wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer if you need to in order to protect yourself when you attend a party. Asking if someone who will be present at any gathering you plan to attend has lately been ill is more than okay — it’s vital.
You can choose not to participate in the plan that causes you any discomfort. Don’t think you have to justify yourself to people, Griffith advises. You are not required to defend yourself.
Ask People to Come to You
Normally, traveling across the nation to spend the holidays with your family involves a long journey and uncomfortable (or expensive) accommodations. This year, you might not feel up to going due to weariness, side effects from your therapy, and attempting to avoid crowds while being immunocompromised.
See if your relatives can come to you instead. Even if your entire family is unable to travel, you might be able to meet up with a relative that lives nearby.
Ask your family if there is any way they can modify their holiday plans so that you can participate. Griffith warns there’s a chance they might say no. The key, she advises, is to “have the confidence to know that you’re making the right choice for yourself.”
Make Gift-Giving Manageable
Giving gifts can be expensive even under normal circumstances; when you factor in the frequently astronomical costs of cancer care and potential income reductions or loss during treatment, it can become intolerable.
“Communicate that to people in advance if you want to make sure that any of your excess money may go to housing, transportation, [and] prescriptions and you’re minding your budget,” Griffith suggests.
She advises that it’s acceptable to tell acquaintances that you won’t be providing gifts this year if money is tight. She suggests that you might also set up specific guidelines, such as only exchanging homemade gifts or items that are under a certain dollar amount. When money is tight because of treatment-related costs, you shouldn’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford.
Be Specific About the Gifts You Need
People want to help, therefore it’s preferable for them to spend their money on items you can actually use rather than something you’ll just toss in a storage closet. So, have a very clear response ready when loved ones ask what you want for the holidays.
Griffith advises compiling a list of the items you’ll need. She also advises going a step further and making an Amazon Wish List that you can share with loved ones.
Ask others to donate to your GoFundMe if the only thing you actually need is money to cover bills, she continues. People will be satisfied their money was put to good use — not the back of a storage closet — and you’ll acquire what you actually need.
Make Arrangements in Advance
According to Griffith, it’s critical to be organized and plan ahead for an in-patient stay. She suggests that you start by finding out the hospital’s visitor and overnight guest rules because a lot has changed since COVID. Make a schedule of everyone you want to visit you and when you are aware of the rules. you won’t be spending the holidays with any friends or family? Plan Zoom calls with your loved ones.
Griffith advises including distractions in your hospital bag, such as books, a list of podcasts you wish to listen to, and/or activities that demand concentration and effort, such a paint-by-numbers kit or a diamond art puzzle. Have a ready-to-use repertory of activities, she advises, to keep your time as busy as you can.
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Feel Free to Skip It
You should forgo the holiday season if the pressure to enjoy it is making you miserable. If it’s making you feel horrible, you don’t have to send holiday cards or listen to Christmas music. Griffith asserts that happiness need not be forced. “You don’t have to work hard or achieve anything. Pushing yourself when you’re not feeling well can make things worse, whether you’re not feeling well physically or emotionally. What is Griffith’s best advice for surviving the holidays while receiving treatment? She advises, “Give yourself grace.”