The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke

General Information | Take Care of Yourself Through the Holiday Season

By Kristi Gordon, MA, Counselor, Duke Cancer Patient Support Program

The holiday season can bring both joy and stress. Having a plan for limiting  holiday stresses can help you maintain the strength and energy you need to cope with the stresses that having a brain tumor has already brought into your life. Here are some guidelines to consider as you make your holiday plans: 

Set Boundaries - Decide in advance what is most important to you. What are reasonable tasks each day? What activities can you let go of? Do you need to travel for the holidays or would it be easier for family to come to you? Ask your friends and family to support the limits you have set. 

Ask for Help - Is there anyone who can help you shop for presents, cook a meal, wrap gifts, decorate? This is a good time to reach out to people and let them know exactly how they can help you.

Nurture Yourself - Feelings of guilt, sadness, fear or isolation can be especially strong during the holiday season. Do something every day to help your body and your spirit focus on the joy of the season. You can go for a walk, have a bubble bath, rent a funny movie, finger paint, sing out loud. Get a massage, a pedicure, manicure, or facial. Take a nap, pray, play a game, tell a story to a child. 

Celebrate life around you and those in your life. Create activities and projects that include the people and places you love. Rituals to celebrate life may include:

  • Writing about something or someone you are thankful for or holiday traditions they enjoy
  • Decorating/creating ornaments
  • Volunteering for a charity with your family or a group of friends

Most importantly, find something you can enjoy that will bring peace, happiness and a sense of well being. After you have developed these activities you can enjoy them not only throughout the holiday season, but throughout the days ahead. 

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