The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


December 19, 2012

All they want for Christmas...

Cancer survivors and the gift of a positive attitude



Tips for coping with the holidays through illness

By Jewell C. Field, LSW Support Specialist, Hospice of Southern West Virginia

The keys to coping through illness, facing the illness of a loved one or as a bereaved individual are the same — flexibility and foresight; change and adjustment.  

Prepare for the ambush of emotions — laugh if you feel like it; cry if you want to.

Socialize on your own terms — accept engagements that are going to bring you the most peace and joy.

Lower your expectations. If your health is failing you, it is OK to NOT DO IT ALL! It is OK to say NO. Simplify and change — you can still enjoy each day!

Get up and move as your health allows. Don’t isolate yourself … enjoy as many public venues as you can.

Seek the sunshine and open your curtains to let in the light.

Reach out to others in the same position as you, help them get through as well. We are the happiest when we are serving others.

Pamper yourself mind, body and spirit. Ask yourself, what does (pampering) look like and feel like to me?

Allow people to comfort you. Embrace the tears — they can be very therapeutic.

“Do the telling” — tell your story as much as possible and to as many listeners as possible. This helps with acceptance.

Have fun within the limitations of your condition — feeling good and laughing is your body’s way of letting go and relaxing.

Read a book that helps you to feel positive about your condition. Read survivor stories and inspirational literature.

As a person of faith, embrace faith-based traditions.

Discover and enjoy small joys (you know what these are for you.)

Accept the feeling of sadness.

Have a plan when it all falls apart— make a commitment to call someone and let them know you need support; confide in them.

Journal it — write down your emotions and feeling. Journaling is a way of validating them.

REST! REST! REST! Take care of yourself physically and don’t overdo it.

Enjoy your family— including the children and the companionship of your pets.


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