Coping with Prostate Cancer Over the Holidays
Coping with prostate cancer at any time is stressful, and over the holiday season it can be so much worse. The contrast between a festive atmosphere when you feel obliged to have fun and the reality of a serious illness can be emotionally draining.
How to face tough holiday challenges
There is the risk of isolation. Sufferers may not have the energy to get involved with celebrations and long-held family traditions. There may be difficulties with travel, getting food on the table, and other holiday activities. This can contribute to loneliness.
Families may be tasked with explaining to children why grandad isn’t so spry and chipper this year. Any serious illness will bring uncertainty and fear as to what the new year may bring and what the future holds. These are tough challenges. How can they be faced?
Set realistic expectations
Above all don’t hide your feelings. Share your worries and concerns with your loved ones. Honest communication can foster understanding and support.
Set realistic expectations, and share them with friends and family. If you can’t make a party or can only attend for a short time, then say so.
Don’t be shy of accepting help. Allow friends and family to assist you with any holiday preparations that you feel are beyond you. This might be shopping, cooking, or putting up decorations. People often want to help but don’t always know what to do or are perhaps reluctant to say. So, tell them!
Take care of yourself
Take care of yourself: get enough rest, eat well, and engage in activities that bring you joy. This may be watching your favorite television show or reading a book. Holidays may be about communal celebration, but they also involve precious me-time for those who are no longer so active.
It can all feel overwhelming! You may not feel able to get involved in all the social gatherings, but don’t hide away. Stay connected: make that phone call, send a WhatsApp message, jump on a ZOOM call. Social interaction in all its forms can be important for brightening your mood.
As the old song goes: Accentuate the positive. Take some time to reflect on the good things in your life.
Connect with others
But what if you don’t have family around and friends are far away? What then? Seek support from healthcare professionals and support networks and plan ahead. Is there an organized holiday lunch you can attend, or are there people close-by who might welcome you into their family? This is tough and you may need to push yourself, but people don’t want to see others alone during this time of year. It’s amazing how fair people can be.
Whether you have prostate cancer, are a family member or friend of someone who does, thank you for reading my ramblings on this website over the last year. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season whether it be Christmas, Hannukah or just spending time with those you love. Peace, shalom.
Do you have ways of managing your mindset for big decisions?