November 27, 2015 | by Hiu Chung So
For many people, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration. However, for patients with cancer and other serious illnesses — and for survivors — the season can be a time of overwhelming stress.
"For a number of different reasons, [the holiday season] is stressful for a lot of people, and adding an illness or treatment to that can be a real challenge," said Natalie Schnaitmann, L.C.S.W., director of operations at City of Hope's Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, in the video above.
The holidays come with the time- and energy-consuming tasks of shopping, decorating and cooking, Schnaitmann said, and cancer patients and survivors may feel pressured into trying to seem festive as well. But this can further exacerbate stress' impact on their lives, interfering with the healing process and leading to actual physical symptoms. These can include the inability to fall or stay asleep, physical aches and pains, and an elevated pulse or blood pressure. Thankfully, Schnaitmann said, many tools and strategies can reduce stress — and its impact — during the holidays.
Finally, Schnaitmann encourages patients and survivors to contact their health-care providers for support in handling holiday stress. The Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center offers a variety of resources to help patients reduce or cope with stress, including reading materials, literature, support groups and professional services.
Explore additional tips, tools and resources to help you and your family cope with the issues that arise during and after cancer treatment by visiting Living with Cancer.
If you are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.