Every thanksgiving can be a lovely mixture of feelings. The excitement of seeing loved ones, new children, new stories of graduation or marriages. The dread of political conversations and old traumas. To throw in Cancer into the pile can feel like an avalanche of emotions and you may feel like skipping out on the festivities altogether.
But studies have shown that connecting with your family is crucial to your mental health and physical health!
Being with people you love can be a potion just as effective as diet and exercise. Here are some tips on meeting up with your family during thanksgiving with cancer.
Plan the “me time” ahead of time
No matter how great your family or how spacious your family home is this thanksgiving, you will start to feel overwhelmed and “pecked at” after enough time with your family. All the questions, loving though they may be, can become a drag and you might not want to tell someone to leave you alone.
So plan and communicate “me time” during these holidays. This can be as simple as:
- Going on a walk around the neighborhood by yourself
- Going on a drive when no one urgently needs the car
- Choosing to stay at a separate air bnb that is close but still apart from the festivities
- Doing chores “by yourself”
Try to communicate beforehand.
If your parents or children know that you need some alone time before things get crazy during this thanksgiving, they are more likely to take it less personally. This can avoid stress and arguments s while giving you the “me” time which is your right and your necessity to keep you healthy.
Decide what you want to share, but give yourself an allowance to share more or less at the moment
If you want to keep your cancer a secret that is absolutely your prerogative. No one can or should take that away from you.
However mental health journal after mental health journal has documented the healing effects of sharing your traumas and sorrows with loved ones and people you feel safe with. It isn’t just a good idea, therapists and psychiatrists believe that it is crucial for maintaining mental health.
Start small though.
Maybe you only trust your little sister not to go blabbing. If she asks you if she can tell others decide how you feel but go with the flow. Don’t no need to leave yourself bare but if you feel hesitant try speaking as much as you can. You may be shocked at how much better you feel afterward.
If you or a loved one are fighting cancer and need help, speak to a medical professional today.