Staying Healthy During the Holidays
Dealing with cancer over the holidays brings a mixed bag of emotions. Visiting with friends and family can be fun and joyful, but it’s impossible to forget that you’re fighting a serious battle for your health. Loved ones will also feel the strain, and the hectic holiday rush can quickly overwhelm your sense of control and your ability to devote due time to your health and treatment.
Staying healthy during the holidays can feel like a challenge, but don’t let the stress and concern overcome your holiday cheer. Kidney cancer may force you to change some traditions, but communication and creativity will help you get the most out of the season without compromising your health or energy.
Pick and Choose your Traditions
The holiday season is marked by tradition, from family feasts to annual outings and grand events to mark special days. Unfortunately, kidney cancer and treatment can leave you feeling sore, exhausted and generally cheerless while festivities spring up around you. It’s important to learn how to balance rest and social engagement to ensure you’re staying healthy during the holidays.
- Thin out your schedule. Activity can spike suddenly as the holiday season approaches, and while it’s a great opportunity to see friends and family, you need to ease into the festivities. Be prepared to turn down some invitations if you need to rest, and think twice about hosting a party. On the other hand, isolation leads to a dreary perspective and less inclination to take good care of yourself, so try your best to participate in a few gatherings, even for a short amount of time.
- Get creative with gifts. Holiday gift giving can quickly get out of control, and it generally brings unnecessary stress and fatigue. Tone it down this year by finding one or two special tokens of gratitude for the people closest to you, and think about ordering online rather than fighting the crowds in the shops. And there are plenty of crafty ways to celebrate friends and family without venturing too far or expending too much energy: do some baking, make thoughtful holiday cards, compile a scrapbook or recipe book, or create pretty ornaments.
- Lean on local businesses. If you’re used to doing the catering, decorating and shopping all by yourself, it can be difficult to ask for a helping hand. But ordering meals or desserts from local restaurants or bakeries can be a real timesaver, and shops are often delighted to put together gift baskets (and perhaps deliver them) for holiday gifts.
- Change your perspective. Instead of dwelling on the traditions you couldn’t keep this year, or how this holiday season is bound to be different, celebrate everything you do have and try to live in the moment. Keep a kidney cancer-friendly diet, but bring in the flavors of the season. Share your joy and be thankful for the people you love – a positive attitude will go far to creating happy, lasting memories.
Communicate Well to Feel Better
When you’re living with kidney cancer, the stress and demands of the holiday season can remind you of your limitations, and it’s natural to feel sad or frustrated. But this is the time of year when people come together, and you should take advantage of the friends and family who are happy to lend a hand or simply listen to your thoughts.
Sometimes holiday cheer is too much to bear, and it can be difficult to hide behind a smile when you really want to cry. It’s perfectly fine to let yourself express your emotions, and as long as you are clear and open with the people around you, they will understand and offer their attention. Remind them that, although it’s a happy time of year for others, you’re fighting a difficult fight every day.
Get together with a couple of good friends or family members for an afternoon, and instead of making plans, just sit and talk. Sometimes you don’t realize just how badly you need to unload some tears, laughter, or concerns until you’re in the midst of a comfortable conversation with people you love. The holidays can be full of high expectations – try to expect less of yourself, simplify social time, and get the physical and emotional rest you need.