Although typically a time of happiness and a chance to get together with friends and family, Christmas can also be a stressful and difficult time for many. This can become particularly true if you have cancer, as your symptoms and treatment may make it more challenging for you to enjoy all the traditions of the festive season. Here are a few of our top tips to have a wonderful festive period.

 

Pace Yourself
Christmas can be a busy period for everyone, and this can feel overwhelming when combined with the increased tiredness that many patients feel during and after treatment. Make sure that you take some time out for yourself and remember you don’t have to accept every invitation. If you’re lacking the energy to go Christmas shopping, then consider ordering gifts online or make a list and ask a family member to go shopping for you.

Express your Needs
Tell others if you are finding it difficult to cope and accept offers of help. Be specific about things people can do to assist like help with cooking, shopping or travel to appointments. Practise being assertive and remember that you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to, especially if you’re not feeling up to it.

Be Gentle with Yourself
Give yourself permission to get through the holiday season the best way you can. Try to accept any limitations and remember celebrations do not have to be perfect. Enjoy the small things like a hot bath or watching one of your favourite movies. Making time for these pleasures can help boost your mood.

Festive Feasts 
Loss of appetite, feeling sick or changes in taste are all common side effects of treatment and may make enjoying all of the festive food more difficult. To combat this you could ask for smaller portions, or say that you only want to eat certain things.