Coping with a Serious Illness During the Holidays Can Add Stress

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • There are reasons enough to be stressed during the holidays, especially this year.  Holiday times are considered "joyous times" and for those struggling with sudden serious illnesses, or chronic debilitating illnesses, unwanted stress can become an accompanying factor.  According to a psychiatrist at the University of Michigan Health System, there are ways to avoid this feeling of additional stress:

    (1) Have a healthy attitude - When someone is suffering from a medical condition, it is important to keep on schedule with physical activity, healthy eating, and avoiding excesses of alcohol and other holiday treats.

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    (2) Though you may be "off schedule" and even traveling, this is not a time to miss medication or abandon your scheduled therapy.

    (3) Don't cancel medical appointments - you can experience an excacerbation of the very condition you find confounding, so stay on track if you need to see doctors during this time. 

    (4) Set limits to what you can do - sure you want to join every social get together, every outing, night time parties, but accept your limitations and work with what you can do and enjoy.


    Those of us with friends or relatives coping with a serious illness can be extra sensitive by making sure we "slow the pace" when we are including them in activities, making sure we address special food needs, asking if it is more convenient to have a gathering at their home so it is more accessible, and really making sure we are clued in to their needs.  Even setting up quiet limited visits with small groups of family and friends can go a long way to including someone, without adding extra burden to their situation.

Published On: December 16, 2008