5 Ways to Maximize Time With Your Family During the Holidays

by Brittany McNabb

The holidays can bring a lot of gratitude, love, laughter and...stress. Whether it is trying to get the whole family together, trying to get last minute Christmas shopping done, or trying to maintain some kind of normalcy this year, cancer patients struggle with stress during the holidays. 

Maximize Time With Family

Many WhatNexters agree that one of the most important goals of the holiday season is to spend time with loved ones. To help you accomplish that, we have 5 tips on how to maximize time with your family during the season.

1. Make Preparations Early

Prepare Ahead Of Time

Although it takes a little more foresight to plan ahead, you can try to get shopping done ahead of time (even online), make meals and freeze them for the holidays, and plan to avoid doing things last minute. A lot of WhatNexters take into account chemo, doctor's visits, and other treatments when planning the holidays. If you make preparations early you may be able to spend more time with family as the celebration days roll around. Instead of scrambling at the last minute you will be relaxing with your loved ones.

2. Don't Try to Do Too Much

Don't Try To Do Too Much

In an effort to keep things "normal" some WhatNexters have admitted to overdoing it around the holidays. If you overdo it, that may ultimately lead to more stress and fatigue and less energy to spend with family. Consider letting someone else do the cooking or hosting even if you have always done it. Also, if family is visiting for the holidays, think about staggering their visits so that you are not overwhelmed with a lot of guests at one time. Only you know how much you can handle.

3. Skype If You Can't Make it to All Holiday Gatherings

Skype With Loved Ones

If you have loved ones who live far away or if you simply can't make it to family gatherings, many of WhatNexters have successfully resorted to using Skype or FaceTime during the holidays. You will still get to spend time with your family but from the comfort of your own home.

4. Communicate With Family About Your Needs

Call Loved Ones During The Holiday

Whatever your situation is, it may help family and friends if you communicate your needs with them ahead of time. Maybe you can't attend a certain get together or can only stay for a short amount of time, they will probably understand. You can also communicate with them about what makes you comfortable, what you might need if you are staying in their home, or you could even warn them about appearance changes. This communication may make you more comfortable instead of avoiding them or feeling awkward, and even with the changes that cancer brings, you will still have a successful time with your family.

5. Focus on Gratitude and Quality Time

Spend Quality Time With Family

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that everyone gets to spend quality time together...whatever that may look like. If you are feeling stressed about the holidays and spending time with loved ones, some WhatNexters say that focusing on gratitude and small blessings can help them get through the holidays.

What are your main tips for making it through the holiday season? How have things changed since you have been diagnosed with cancer?

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