Celebrating the holidays during cancer treatment: How to find joy

Between all of the decorating, baking, cooking, parties, shopping and events, the holiday season can be stressful. And, adding cancer treatment into the mix may bring another layer of stress that can cause exhaustion and even depression. That’s why I encourage my patients at MD Anderson in The Woodlands to reset their priorities and let others help out during the holiday season.  Here’s what I tell them. Be realistic I start by asking my patients three questions: What is a must for you to do this holiday season? What do you enjoy most during the holiday season? What do you realistically feel you can do? Then I ask them to prioritize based on this list and find other ways to accomplish the things that matter most to them.  Here are my suggestions. Decorating: Try to limit the amount you decorate to only the essentials, like a wreath, a small pre-lit tree and a few candles. If more extensive decorating is at the top of your list, invite friends and family over, turn on music, sit in a chair and direct traffic as they decorate for you. Baking: Buy your sweets from a bakery, or ask for homemade baked goods as gifts. Parties and events: Attend only the parties and events you really enjoy and have an exit strategy in case fatigue sets in. Gifts: Consider skipping the malls and shop online instead. Gift cards are also a good hassle-free option. Greeting cards: Opt for an email with a favorite photo or share a greeting on social media or via text message. Family functions: Assuming your family knows you are undergoing cancer...