Cancer and the Holidays: Keeping A Healthy Mind and Body During the Holiday Season

The holidays bring in a mix of emotions to cancer patients. While the celebrations usually serve as the time for people to get together, catch up, and binge on the delicious food, this is not the case for those with serious medical conditions. Cancer patients have a hard time catching up with everyone’s holiday spirit because of all the thoughts in their minds. All the planning, cooking, or socializing can take a toll on their physical and mental health. This is on top of the side effects they experience due to their treatment. They also cannot enjoy the holiday feast like everyone else due to loss of appetite and other factors.

Most may be cheerful during this season, but let us not forget how our loved ones with cancer are doing. Here are some tips that can help make the occasion safe and enjoyable.

1. Prepare a healthy holiday feast 

your appetite

Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can weaken the body’s immune system. That’s why it’s best to take advantage of the holidays to provide your loved ones diagnosed with cancer with delicious yet nutritious foods that can help strengthen their bodies.

Fortunately, many of our traditional holiday staples are suitable for cancer patients. High-protein foods, such as turkey, fish, and chicken are good sources of energy, and they are perfect for people experiencing unwanted weight loss. 

Fruits and vegetables are also necessary since they are the best sources of carbohydrates, the body’s primary energy source. If you’re planning to bake something for the big feast, it’s also best to make use of whole-grain flour. Dips made with cheese, beans, and extra veggies are good options to pair with your finger foods.

2. Bundle-up

Patients who undergo common cancer treatments are more sensitive to the cold. It is harder for their bodies to heat up and stay warm during the cold weather, unlike healthy people. That is why cancer patients should bundle up as much as possible to keep warm. 

This holiday season, when the season is colder and possibly freezing, you should be cautious about keeping your house warm. If you have loved ones with cancer, check up on them once in a while and make sure they are warm enough. Dress them in layers and prepare warm foods and drinks. 

3. Stay hydrated

The standard cancer treatments often cause dehydration, which explains why patients who undergo these treatments get cold easily. Ensure that cancer patients are hydrated during the holiday season when it is freezing. Dehydration makes them more susceptible to hypothermia.

It’s always good to make water easily accessible for your loved ones and guests. Snacks with high water content such as fruits and vegetables are also a good help. While the celebration demands alcoholic drinks, don’t offer alcohol or soft drinks to your family members with cancer. These drinks are not healthy and can increase the risk of dehydration.

4. Don’t make them feel left behind

Depression is a serious condition that affects 15% to 20% of cancer patients. Some of them tend to feel like they become burdens to their families and friends and become depressed. Their limited activities and lifestyle changes also affect their outlooks in life. Some may overlook the effects of cancer on one’s mental health, but it should not be the case, especially during the holidays. Worse, since mental health affects physical health, this may also lead to a weaker immune system for cancer patients.

Whether small talks or simple acts of service, these simple manifestations of care and support to your loved ones with cancer can help make them feel included and less estranged from others. 

5. Do not be afraid to talk about it

Loved ones fighting cancer are mostly apprehensive about mentioning cancer during the holiday get-togethers. Some may think that the holidays are only about good cheer, and talking about cancer is a grim topic. 

However, leaving that subject in the dark won’t do any good. Being open about your thoughts and worries will help strengthen your bond as a family.  After all, the holiday season is also about being there for each other and catching up. 

Talking about cancer will also let your loved one diagnosed with the said condition know that you care about them and their well-being. In the process, you may even know what makes them comfortable and what doesn’t, which can guide you in making a more enjoyable holiday celebration.

6. Keep traditions and create new ones.

Fighting cancer does not mean that a lot has to change. We can still keep traditions during the holidays and do the little things that make us merry, like setting up the Christmas lights or sending gifts.

We can also create new traditions to help our loved ones with cancer. We can have more activities that will make us cherish each other more. Cancer patients experience more fatigue and malnutrition from all the treatments they undergo. Staying fit and healthy is necessary for cancer patients to enjoy the holidays.

Conclusion: Stay healthy and energized for and after the holidays

Cancer is a disease that about 18 million people worldwide are fighting. Common cancer treatments largely affect cancer patients’ nutrition and immune system. To help you stay healthy and fight cancer, schedule a consultation with New Hope Unlimited for a more holistic option for fighting cancer.

New Hope Unlimited has options for implementing anti-tumor protocols. Cancer patients need strength and nutrition to fight cancer. That is why they focus on boosting the immune system and detoxifying the body.

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