Are you feeling stressed about the holidays, or rather, about all the expectations? Who isn’t, right? I want to share a few tips with you that might help in managing holiday stress following loss or a cancer diagnosis. For tips specific to getting through the holidays after the death of a loved one, you might wish to read or share, Twelve Tips for Getting Through the Holidays After Loss.
After a cancer diagnosis, or after the loss of a loved one, the holidays can feel very different. They don’t feel the same because they aren’t the same. If you’ve experienced the death of a loved one, the reasons are obvious. After a cancer diagnosis things are not the same either. For example, your energy level is probably not what it was.
Are you nodding your head yes about now?
You might be feeling anything but festive, and/or you might be feeling overwhelmed for a whole variety of reasons. However, you might still be expected to get the house cleaned and decorated, the shopping and baking done, the gifts wrapped, the cards done and attend school, work, church and family events.
And of course, you’re expected to do all of these things while still appearing at least relatively cheery, more-or-less rested and definitely not too stressed.
Or are you?
Sometimes we put way too many expectations on ourselves.
So here are a few tips to help reduce (sorry, not eliminate) holiday stress.
1. Cut back and ask for help. Just because you’ve always done holidays a certain way, it doesn’t mean you must keep on doing things the same way. And asking for help with anything that is making you feel stressed is perfectly fine, maybe even necessary.
2. Forget about trying to create the perfect holiday. It doesn’t exist anyway except in movies or on TV. After loss, a cancer diagnosis or during treatment, things just are not the same. Be realistic. Sometimes less really is more.
3. Try to eat healthy, but for goodness sakes, enjoy the holiday eating too. Remember it’s all about striving for balance and sometimes things are out of balance for a bit.
4. Exercise and rest. You need both (maybe even more so during the holidays) and it’s essential to carve out time every day for at least a bit of exercise (walking around the mall counts too) and as much rest as you can squeeze in.
5. Be real. It’s perfectly fine, maybe even necessary, to have feelings of sadness, grief or whatever you might be feeling mixed in with joy and happiness. Feelings never have to be of only one kind, not even during the holidays.
6. Remember when the holidays are over, no one will care or remember that your turkey was dry, that your house wasn’t clean, how many gifts they got (or even what they got) or that you didn’t bake umpteen kinds of cookies like you used to. No, they will remember conversations enjoyed, hugs given and received and time spent reminiscing about loved ones. Mostly, they will remember the togetherness and the love.
So, try to stop stressing (I know, it’s easier said than done) and just enjoy whatever unfolds for you and your family and friends during this special time of year.
Remember, your holiday will be special simply because it’s yours.
What tips do you have to help handle holiday stress following loss or a cancer diagnosis?