Do make a budget for holiday shopping. Cancer treatment can be expensive. Even with health insurance, the co-pays can add up. You may need to budget for holiday shopping a little bit differently this year. Make a budget beforehand and stick to it! Take advantage of online deals and promotions. Or, make heartfelt presents such as photo albums, knitted scarves, or baked goods instead.
Don’t get too caught up in the holiday cheer and miss an appointment or treatment! Everyone gets busy during the holiday season. With travel, days off work, and parties, it can be easy to forget about a doctor’s appointment. Try color coding your calendar. Put all your appointment and treatments in bold red! Set reminders on your phone as well.
Do practice food safety to avoid foodborne illness since cancer treatment may weaken your immune system. Wash your hands before handling any food. Ask to go first at the buffet line. Be wary of foods that have been out a long time.
Don’t ignore the “holiday blues.” Although many people think of the holidays as a happy and cheerful time, the chaos of the holidays can actually create a frustrating mixture of emotional distress on top of the physical symptoms of cancer. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 15-25% of cancer patients experience clinical depression. If you find yourself unable to conduct normal, daily activities, tell your healthcare team ASAP.
Do ask for help if you need it. Are you usually the one who hosts the family Christmas party? During cancer treatment, don’t feel bad about asking for help! Ask another family member to host Christmas this year. Or, if you want to be at home, ask people to bring a covered dish so you don’t have to cook as much yourself.
Do enjoy the holidays! Spend time with those you love. Indulge in some of the holiday desserts. (Even our registered dietitian says it is okay as long as you do so in moderation!) Watch a Hallmark Christmas movie snuggled up on the couch with this Ginger Holiday “Mocktail”. Go ice skating for exercise. Partake in your favorite holiday traditions.
Want more information on navigating the holidays during cancer treatment? Check out these posts and articles: