The holiday season is in full swing with parties, family get-togethers, traveling and so much holiday shopping. This is one of the busiest times of the year for most of us, but for those caring for a loved one with cancer it can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally. While caring for your loved one during the holiday season, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Here are some tips for having a wonderful and peaceful holiday season.
Have a support system in place. Just because you’re taking care of someone else doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have people watching out for you too. Sometimes it can be hard to talk to your loved one, since you both have so much going on, and you want to be supportive of your loved one during this hectic season. But, don’t let yourself feel lonely or isolated. Make sure you have someone to talk to and people in place to help you when you’re busy.
Celebrate new traditions. Holidays are usually a time of celebrated traditions, but cancer could limit you and your loved one’s ability to participate in your usual holiday rituals. Use this year to create new traditions that are easier for your loved one to participate in so that you both aren’t left out of the holiday fun.
Be willing to accept help. Just because you’re the primary caregiver for your loved one doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. The holidays are a time of giving, and many people will want to offer you any assistance you may need. Don’t be afraid to let them help you, whether it’s with cooking, holiday shopping, transportation or just by listening. The extra support will ease your stress and let you focus on being there for your loved one.
Be mindful of your own health. This time of the year isn’t just the holiday season. It’s also the start of cold and flu season. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you’re trying to protect your loved one from a winter cold or flu, but if you get sick they could get sick too. Bundle up, wash your hands frequently, and try to avoid contact with others who have a cold or the flu.
Don’t forget to use your resources. You aren’t alone this holiday season. In addition to help from other friends and family members, CSC is also available for any support you may need to help you make the most of the holidays with your loved one. The Cancer Support Helpline is available for any questions or concerns you may have. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Helpline will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so if you are experiencing an emergency at that time, please call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also visit The Living Room at any time for help with being a caregiver during the holidays. Our online discussion board is available 24/7. And for more tips, you can visit our Caregiving page.