There are so many things I love about the holiday season, but the one thing that I love most is the lights and the music! I love relaxing on my couch admiring the twinkling lights and listening to holiday music, it really boosts my mood!
For someone who is navigating a cancer diagnosis or going through cancer treatment finding the time, energy, and motivation to decorate may not be at the top of the “to-do” list. For some, the thought of decorating for the holidays could cause more stress and anxiety. Juggling the stress of holiday decorating while balancing a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. In this blog, I am going to share some ideas on how you could go about lending a helping hand to a friend, family member, or loved one. Below are some ways that you can offer your assistance with holiday decorating.
- Communicate your willingness to help: Let your loved one know that you are available and that you want to help them decorate or get organized for the holidays.
- Share your availability: Let them know when you are available to help so that they can plan, and you can coordinate schedules.
- Bring all the supplies: Ask in advance what specifically you can help with so you can make sure you have all the supplies that you need.
- Communicate about assistance: Discuss whether your loved one wants to help you decorate or if they prefer that you do it so they can rest. Be mindful that someone getting cancer treatment may need to take a break if they want to help. Think of small manageable tasks they could help with.
- Be mindful of their time: Keep in mind that this is a busy time of year and that your loved one is likely feeling overwhelmed so try to be efficient and make the decorating process as joyful as possible.
- Make it fun: Put on the holiday music and bring a special treat or drink to make the activity more enjoyable.
- Help with clean up: Make sure that you leave time after you decorate to put all the holiday boxes back where they belong and clean up any mess that was created during the decorating process.
- Plan a time to put the décor away after the holidays: Taking the decorations down and putting them back in storage can be even more stressful than decorating. Make sure that you communicate that this is something that you will be taking care of in advance so that they don’t think it will be their responsibility. Plan this in advance.
Decorating for the holidays to bring joy and a sense of normalcy to your loved one’s life during a challenging time can be an uplifting and meaningful experience for you both! So grab the tape, hooks, vacuum, and your favorite holiday playlist and give your loved one a call.
Courtney is a Radiation Therapist at Penn Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Therapy from Indiana University, and received her Master’s Degree in Public Health with concentrations in Health Management and Policy and Health Education and Promotion from Benedictine University. She has fourteen years of experience in radiation therapy, which includes an expertise in proton therapy and pediatrics. Courtney has worked with OncoLink since 2014, but joined part-time in 2020 as a Global Education Coordinator and is currently developing virtual reality training modules that have been used to train radiation therapists both domestically and internationally.