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  • Posted December 12, 2020

For Cancer Patients, Holiday Season Can Be a Stressful Time

The holiday season can be difficult for people with cancer, especially with the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

As they undergo treatment and cope with symptoms and side effects, they may struggle to get any pleasure from the season, according to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Emotional and physical fatigue can make it hard for cancer patients to take part in planning, decorating, cooking and socializing.

The institute offers holiday season advice for cancer patients.

First, make self-care a priority and know your limits. Be sure to get enough rest. Eat balanced meals, avoid excesses and get light exercise to ease stress. Do activities you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, crafting or taking a bath.

It's normal to feel sad about how cancer affects your holiday season. Be patient, compassionate and gentle with yourself, and share your feelings with family, friends or a professional, or consider joining a support group, the cancer experts suggested.

Accept the help of family and friends who want to support you. This can significantly reduce your stress, they said in an institute news release.

If you have a loved one with cancer, follow their lead and be flexible about holiday traditions and expectations. Be aware that your loved one might not be up for usual holiday activities.

It's also a good idea to offer to assist cancer patients with activities like holiday shopping, cooking or wrapping gifts. The most important thing is to listen to and support your loved one with cancer, the experts added.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on coping during the holiday season.

SOURCE: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, news release, Dec. 7, 2020

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