The Live Better With cancer community forum is an incredible family – every day you share emotional support and help each other with practical tips and advice. Here’s Community Admin EmilyRose’s special Christmas forum roundup…
Christmas can be a particularly difficult time if you have cancer. There’s the pressure to be jolly and join in, parties you might not feel like attending, food and drink you can’t enjoy, and generally a million and one things to do when you have no energy to do them.
We also asked the Live Better With community for their tips and advice. The response was brilliant, with people sharing all sorts of practical ideas, and emotional support and inspiration too. You can browse lots of them in this forum post, and also this one.
Here are seven of our favourites…
1) Ask for help
Many community members emphasised the importance of not taking everything on yourself, even if it’s usually your job to organise Christmas. Magsruby said: Accept all offers of help, even if it’s just walking the dog! Listen to your body, be kind to yourself and look forwards as that’s the way you are going!
2) Schedule rest breaks…
Vixie said: Try and schedule in naps. Meditate and eat well, all this extra fun festive meet-ups take it out of you. Rest, facial oils and lots of water and then we can go out & enjoy festive fun!
3)…And full sofa days
Blondie3682 advised: Let others do the chores, shop online for food and presents to save your energy. Pace yourself so not to overdo things. Have some healthy snacks in the fridge. Make a flask of hot tea or coffee, so that you dont need to get up and down, if you’re needing a sofa day. Sit back and enjoy the uplifting christmas films on Netflix, Now TV or Prime video. Worth the money whilst resting. Can cancel subs at anytime x
4) Bring your own bottle
If you’re going to parties, take your own supplies. Community member Kallvik recommends alcohol-free wine: Then you have no problems but you feel like part of the celebrations.
5) Don’t get hung up on traditions…
Sunshinedaff said: One thing I would say is don’t sweat if things are not the same or aren’t how they usually are for you at this time of year. We probably all have our particular favourite things or traditions we like to do, but to be honest, sometimes it’s best to let them be (just for now) especially if you are in chemo. Rest, rest, and more rest. As much as possible.
6) …And don’t feel guilty about cutting corners
Eliza said: Don’t feel guilty! Shop online – decorate less – buy ready prepared food from places like Cook and accept that not every Christmas has to be all bells and whistles. Use the change to make some different traditions and most importantly make some time to enjoy a post lunch nap!
7) ‘Laugh loads’…
We loved this advice from Gillh: Laugh loads. Watch a Morecombe and Wise Christmas special. If all else fails, The Great Escape is sure to be on the TV. If it all gets too much, sneak off for a lie down.
And this from Phoenix15: Cancer can take a hike for one day this Christmas! I’m putting on my best wig, my red high heeled shoes and a wide smile. Close family, laughter, sprouts and a drop of Bailey’s is what my doctor orders!
Finally, here’s a really lovely comment from community member Hazel26, which we just had to share with you…
Christmas music has always been a huge part of the holidays since I was a young child. My mother and I would put on Christmas albums and sing at the top of our lungs (much to the dismay of other family members).
After being diagnosed with cancer, driving to treatments listening and singing along with all my holiday favorites made getting to treatments something to look forward to every day.
Sadly this Christmas will be my 99 year-old mother’s last. Every chance possible we hold hands and sing our favorite songs. They calm her and put a big smile on both our faces. Memories I will always hold dearly in my heart.
Cancer doesn’t have to rob you of happiness and things you enjoy. As my beloved father who passed two years ago at the age of 100 used to say when challenges came our way; “this too shall pass”. Advice I’ve never forgotten, especially during times of overwhelming challenges, like cancer.
So, keep a song in your heart, sing it at the top of your lungs and remember the hard times shall pass.
Whatever your situation in this holiday season – whether you’re living with cancer or caring for a loved one – we wish you a happy, peaceful Christmas.
Find help and support, and share your story and tips – join the Live Better With Cancer community.