We’re told it’s ‘Tis the season to be jolly,’ but for men feeling stressed, lonely, or broke, it may be anything but blissful.
The reality of feeling ‘merry and bright’ may be for some but not for everyone. And for cancer patients, the holidays can be downright depressing when smoldering under a dark cloud that doesn’t lift.
Having holiday blues is more common than we acknowledge. Most people struggle with the dizzying array of demands to buy gifts, putting up decorations and lights, entertaining, and staying on task at work, just to name a few. Besides these things, prostate cancer patients have to cope with their own inner feelings of sadness and grief.
It can be enough to feel holiday drain instead of joy and peace.
How to find joy during the holiday season
Men, even if you are in a constant fight with the disease, it’s time to take back the holiday season. Don’t let stress and depression ruin your holidays while hurting your health. Take a step back by being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support helping avoid holiday blues. When you chase away feelings of anxiety, you’ll feel more relaxed, peaceful, and energized turning holiday gloom into holiday cheer.
Don’t let the holidays become something you dread, even if you cannot fully enjoy them. With planning, family support and positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.
Follow this advice on preventing holiday blues when stress and sadness is at its peak:
- Acknowledge negative thoughts and feelings – Everyone has negative emotions and it’s normal to feel sadness or grief when dealing with cancer. When feeling down, describe out loud what you’re feeling. It’s ok to cry and express emotions. That can be very cathartic as you purge the weight of gloom or despondency.
- Be realistic – Holiday happiness does not hinge on perfection. Probably you cannot do exactly all the things you used to when it comes to decorations or gifts. What matters most is finding ways to celebrate bringing everyone together, regardless of your limitations. Enjoy and embrace the simple things that make this season sparkle – a walk in the snow, listening to holiday music or attending a faith-based worship service.
- Stick to a budget – This year, set a budget reining in overspending. Financial worries are real and when you set a limit you’ll avoid the stress of spending too much. Probably you have invested some money in your cancer treatment, so do not give in to the temptation to spend too much money on gifts. Instead of buying too many gifts, donate to a charity, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.
- Commit to your health – Whatever it takes, take time to care for you. Eat healthily, don’t skip meals, exercise daily, get enough sleep and find ways to relax. Stick to your treatment plan and do not allow stress to make you lose your balance.
- Reach out by asking for help – Often the hardest part of avoiding holiday blues for men is admitting how they feel. Once they get past opening up and seeking help, it can be like unleashing a bad weight around their neck that kept them from ever being free of depression’s grip. When feelings of loneliness or stress creep up, seek out community, religious, medical or another kind of help. Turn to people who offer support, companionship, and understanding. Spending time with those you love and understand your health limits is a good way to lift your spirits so you can enjoy the seasonal wonders.