Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

Coping with cancer during the holidays can be difficult.

As we approach the holidays, what should be a joyous time of year surrounded by friends and family, can be a challenge for both people working through a cancer diagnosis and their loved ones.

There is no point in denying it, things are likely to be different.  But with some thoughtful planning and a commitment to enjoying on your terms, the holiday season can be a special one if there is open and honest dialogue between everyone.

Tips for Cancer Patients

It’s time to plan your holiday strategy.


Nothing shouts out ONLINE SHOPPING more than fatigue and low immunity.

Get your list together and have at it.  In the comfort of your own home tick off everyone on your list with a delivery right to your front door (or theirs!).  No crowds, lots of comfort and you minimize the chance of catching a cold or flu.


Delegate, delegate, delegate! Spread out the cooking detail.  Consider having a potluck dinner this year.  If that’s not an option, then there are loads of places that will cater to all of your gastronomical needs.


Take the time to rest if you need it.  Heck schedule naptimes so all of your guests can build the events of the day around them.

Provide Clarity

Let your people know what challenges you may be facing during the holidays.  Say YES when you need to and don’t be afraid to say NO. They want to support you.  They love you so let them do so.

Throw your Expectations out the Window

Forget comparing to past holidays or lamenting on what you might not be able to do.  Embrace what is and try to be open to experiencing the joy of what this holiday brings.

If Someone You Love has Cancer

If your loved one has cancer understand that this can be an emotional time.  You can’t change that but there are things that you can do to support them and they pretty much line up with what I have just mentioned

Offer to help

Fatigue and just not feeling well can be so prohibitive for those with cancer.  Offer your time.  It’s the best gift you can give.  Shop, clean, cook, write Santa letters.  Do whatever is needed.

Plan events around their schedule

Plan holiday events around their schedule. Be flexible and mindful about planning things around their routine, treatments and according to the overall vitality.   And be understanding if some traditions have to be shelved for this year.

The holidays can be challenging when cancer is in your midst.  But with a little planning and a lot of love they can continue to be a joyous time of year.






This Week on TheHealthHub…Keeping Sane Over the Summer Holidays with Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer



Alyson Schafer is a therapist, TV personality, author, columnist, spokesperson, educator and consultant. She is one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts and serves as the resident expert on national outlets such as: The Marilyn Denis Show, HuffingtonPost Parents Canada and CBC radio.

An internationally acclaimed parenting expert, Alyson empowers families by sharing her principles, rules and tools for raising happy and healthy kids. Her style is fast, witty, warm and encouraging. Alyson delivers her deep insights in ways that today’s busy parents can easily understand and apply immediately.

Alyson promotes a firm but friendly “democratic parenting” style and offers practical solutions backed by extensive research. Armed with years of research, clinical and field experience, Alyson can provide a new, positive understanding of your current family dynamic with actionable solutions that will give you the hope and confidence needed to transform your family.

Alyson is the bestselling author of Breaking The Good Mom Myth and Honey, I Wrecked The Kids and her latest, Ain’t Misbehavin’ which have been translated into Russian, Korean, Bulgarian and Chinese.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels.

 Learning Points:

  • The benefits of allowing your kids to be bored sometimes
  • When we should introduce structure to the summer holidays
  • Tips for taking long car trips

 Listen live or catch the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud!


Every Tuesday from 11am -12pm I host The Health Hub, an interactive, forward thinking talk show on Radio Maria Canada.   Call, tweet or email your questions as together we explore health issues that are relevant to you from new and innovative points of view.

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Let’s Enjoy the Holiday Season Shall We? My Top 5 Tips for Managing Stress During the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is upon us and with that inevitably comes STRESS. Stress to get the house decorated, to entertain, to buy the right gift, to host the perfect party. The list goes on. There are so many sites and posts on the internet giving tips on how to manage stress that even finding the right avenues becomes stressful!

Well, I hope to help you with what I believe to be the Top 5 Tips for Reducing Stress during the Holiday Season.

Take Time for Yourself

Plan time during your day to exercise, meditate, get outside! Walking is a great way to relieve stress and the fresh air will clear your mind.

Set a Budget and stick to it!

Plan out how much you want to spend and stay with what you can afford.

Say No Sometimes

You don’t have to say yes to every party invite. This is the time of year to be with the people that you want to be with. Don’t be afraid to say no to an invite that you know will only be out of obligation and/or will not provide you any joy.  The same idea applies if you are the host.  Bring people to you that will help you to celebrate the season.  Enjoying is every bit as important as giving joy.

Keep It Simple

Do not put unrealistic expectations on yourself, whether it be decorating the house, cleaning, providing the perfect meal. Everything does not have to be perfect nor should you do it all yourself. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You’d be surprised how many people are looking to do something and are happy to help!

Practice Forgiveness & Acceptance

Just because it’s the Holiday Season, it doesn’t mean that people will change how they are. Knowing and accepting this prior to get togethers will help to put you in to a good mindset and make your Holiday Season a happy one.

I wish you all the best for this Holiday Season and I hope that you delight in what this time of year is about, celebrating and being with the ones you love.

Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Humming During the Holidays

Holiday season is in full swing.  Planning, purchasing, partying.  It’s the one time of year to forget all the rules and just enjoy.  And I am all in for that.  I really am.

So I am not going to harp on the fact that things like stress, lack of sleep, shortened daylight hours and sugar can weaken your immune system leaving you vulnerable to things like colds and flus.   I am not.  There will not be a naughty list.

What I am going to do is write a nice list.  A few easy things that can help you to stay on your healthy track and carry you seamlessly in to 2016.

So here we go.

  • Write yourself lists.  Trying to remember all that you need to do, buy, pick up, drop off is stressful!  Lists are an easy way to take this aspect of stress out of your holiday season.
  • Before your party have a snack to curb your appetite.  A little bit of fullness goes a long way to avoiding the dessert tray.
  • Pass on the mixed drink and grab a glass of red wine.  Mixed drinks are full of sugar.  Red wine is fermented!
  • Drink water under the mistletoe.  Alcohol is dehydrating.  Water is not.  The Ying to the alcohol Yang.
  • Right hand nuts, left hand cookie tray (or vice versa if you are a lefty).  Nuts contain healthy fats, fiber and protein.  Most cookies do not.
  • Grab a plate.  Fill it up.  Move away.  Don’t graze around food table.
  • Stand while you talk.  Sitting too long slows everything down.
  • After a wonderful evening out, go home, shut down all your gizmos, turn off all the lights and get some sleep.  Quantity at this time of year may be wishful thinking so we are going for quality here.
  • When a new day begins, hydrate with water and take your vitamin D.  Our shortened days at this time of year severely impede our ability to get vitamin D naturally.  Vitamin D is essential for immunity.
  • Then recharge with a healthy breakfast and look forward to another great day!

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and health and happiness in 2016!