Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

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The holidays are a time when people enjoy reuniting with their family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, and celebrating religious traditions. But these things can lose their luster when you’re worried about your health care needs or those of someone you love.

Although this is my first holiday post-cancer, it’s hard to forget what this time last year was like while coping with the illness.

Therefore, I’m sharing some tips that helped lift my spirits during the holidays while battling with cancer:

  • Express your feelings whether you’re experiencing joy, fear, sadness or pain. Let yourself laugh – or cry. Let your feelings breathe and talk them over with a loved one or friend.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat balanced meals and make time for some exercise and meditation to release tension.
  • Indulge in simple pleasures. Take hot baths, read an enjoyable book, nap if needed or eat some healthy dishes. These can and will help lift your mood.
  • When you feel up to it, try to have some fun! Go to a movie, dinner or a sporting event. Or, stay home and entertain friends.
  • When it is time to prepare for the holidays, continue your traditions or even create new ones.
  • I have always agreed to do what made everyone happy by saying yes. I have learned to say no. We do not have to participate in every holiday event. Those who care will understand if you can't do certain activities.

Tips we SHOULD NOT feel obligated to do:

  • Do not give yourself unrealistic expectations or try to do everything yourself. Ask for help and support.
  • Stick to a budget if you are going shopping. Decide how much money you can afford to spend on gifts.
  • Don't try to do too much in one day. Plan, setting aside specific days for specific tasks. Listen to your body. When it is time to rest, do so.
  • Don't abandon healthy habits. Eat and drink in moderation. Get plenty of sleep.

Most importantly, stay connected with loved ones during the holidays. You never know how their voice can affect your recovery.

Happy holidays!

This article was submitted by Shaune Farve-Williams, a New Orleans native who is an ambitious breast cancer warrior. A patient of Ochsner, Shaune loves family life with her husband, sons and dog, and is passionate about writing, crafting and listening to music. In her spare time, she advocates for breast cancer awareness. Check out her Instagram page for daily inspiration!

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