Dec 14, 2017 9:00 AM

older woman with head in hands

It’s normal for people with cancer to feel sadness, stress, and grief during the holidays. This time of year can be hard on its own. But when combined with a life-changing illness, it can seem overwhelming. By tuning into your needs and wants, you can experience the holidays with less stress and more pleasure. 

Tips for Happier Holidays

  • Focus on one or two traditions that matter most to you. 
  • Honor your emotions. Don’t feel like you have to try to be happy if you’re feeling sad. 
  • Think about what the true meaning of the holidays is for you, and find ways to celebrate that meaning. 
  • Allow yourself to say no. 
  • Ask for help. 

Caregivers Need Help, Too 

People with cancer aren’t the only ones who struggle during the holidays. Caregivers may also feel overloaded. As a caregiver, you may experience a mixture of sadness and loss with happiness and joy. Be sure to take time for yourself and appreciate the little things that make life special. 

  • Try to include your loved one in the holiday meal planning and preparation, decorating, gift buying, and wrapping. 
  • Allow yourself simple pleasures. 
  • Give yourself a break from cancer. 
  • Try to anticipate hot-button issues for the holidays so they don’t interfere with your enjoyment. 
  • Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes wrong. 

Huntsman Cancer Institute's social workers are trained to alleviate emotional and psychological distress of patients and families as they confront cancer. ​Call 801-213-5699 to learn more.

patient and family support

Cancer touches all of us.

Share Your Story