Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

Grandma and child with Christmas tree
Monday, December 18, 2017

The holidays can be a stressful time. Add to that the demands of treatment and cancer fatigue, and holidays can become overwhelming. Many people with cancer face uncertainties as the holidays approach. You may worry about having enough energy to participate in holiday activities, or if family and friends will treat you differently. You may worry about being a burden on your loved ones or disappointing them if you don’t share in the holiday cheer.

We found some helpful advice for lowering the stress factor, and enjoying this special time of year. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to coping with cancer during the holidays, but there are some helpful tips to keep in mind.


  • Keep it simple
  • Give yourself permission to feel and express your feelings
  • Know your limits and when to say no
  • Plan travel ahead of time
  • Eat wisely
  • Stick to a routine
  • Enjoy yourself and celebrate
  • Make memories and start new traditions
  • Set goals for the New Year


  • Try to be a super hero - accept help
  • Pressure yourself with unrealistic expectations
  • Hide what you are feeling
  • Abandon healthy habits - Be sure to eat and drink in moderation, and get plenty of sleep.

For more information about how to manage your cancer symptoms, download Symptom Management Guides for Patients.

The Canadian Cancer Society also offers support and information for people with cancer and their family, friends, and caregivers.

media inquiries

Sara Wilson
Publicity and Promotions Specialist
South West Regional Cancer Program
519-685-8500 ext. 71826