Holidays can be stressful under the best of circumstances. If you are undergoing cancer treatment or caring for a loved one with cancer, normal holiday stress can feel unbearable. Here are some suggestions from Drs. Katie Fetzer and Mary Kathryn Gastinel at The Wellness Studio to help make the season more manageable.
Cancer treatment can lead to many changes physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As soon as someone hears they have cancer, their identity can start to crack. The transition to becoming a “cancer patient” is one of the first and most difficult things that happens.
From physical changes to the body such as hair loss and surgical scars, to changes in relationships with others, belief systems and even finances—these changes can take even the most grounded of individuals on a rollercoaster of emotions. As loved ones’ step into a caregiving role, relationships can shift and evolve. It’s also common for those battling cancer to develop a new perspective on their own mortality—which The Wellness Studio counselors will say, can be a gift worth embracing.
Managing your expectations
It’s important to find and embrace a new normal for these evolving life circumstances. Whatever that looks like, give yourself time to adapt to the changes and take it one day at a time. During treatment, there is often a pause in regular activities such as work, family responsibilities and recreation. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s vital that your expectations are realistic, healthy and flexible.
Tuning out the world and tuning into yourself
This time of year, we’re bombarded with videos and articles telling us how we should decorate, recipes we should cook, and outfits we should wear. Instead of relying on others to tell us what we should be doing or how we should be feeling, look both internally and faithfully, and try to focus on what you need physically, mentally, and spiritually to realize and maintain a sense of peace.
You may want to know and understand every aspect about your diagnosis and treatment, but there can be a sense of peace when you turn everything over to God. It’s okay to feel sad, worried or even angry. Allow yourself to feel your emotions, give yourself grace, and know that you don’t have to put on a happy face for everyone to see. It’s not only okay, it’s healthy if you don’t have all the answers and rely on your
faith for comfort.
Let us help you reframe your response to cancer
If you are struggling with your mental health this holiday season, please seek help. The Wellness Studio offers psycho-oncology mental health treatment to address the psychological needs that exist for adults battling cancer and for their loved ones fighting alongside them. For more information, visit surprisinglywell.com.