The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke

General Information | Coping with the Holidays

Holiday season stress can be especially difficult for patients with brain tumors and their family members. The frenzied round of celebrations, parties, shopping, maintaining connections with family and friends can leave us overwhelmed and exhausted. Here are some practical tips for holiday coping that many families who are dealing with serious illness find helpful:

Simplify: Decide which of the many activities or events are the most important for you and your family - concentrate on quality, not quantity!

Enlist Helpers: All those friends, neighbors, family members who say, "If thereís anything I can do . . . " can really be a help at this time of year! Ask them to shop for gifts, wrap packages, stand in line at the post office, prepare food, string lights around the house or yard. 

Take Time Off: Donít pressure yourself to keep up with your traditional duties. People will understand if you ask someone else to host an activity or prepare for an event. Your family will understand if the decorations are sparser than usual or if the eggnog is omitted.

Take Time Out: Feeling tired or blue? Donít be pushed into cheerfulness or super-activity by well-meaning friends. Give yourself permission not to join in the festivities. 

Express Yourself: If you feel sad about the events of the past year, express those feelings. Talk and tears with people you trust and love can help. Find other outlets to express difficult feelings - art, music, movement, journal writing are great ways to release pent-up emotions.

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