The holidays are a stressful time for everyone. Budgets are tight, schedules are packed, and life becomes a little hectic. These times are especially stressful for those dealing with a cancer diagnosis. On Wednesday, November 11, Senior Director of Education and Program Development of AONN+ Emily Gentry, BSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, OCN, and panelists Karen Costello, MSS, LSW; Aicha Diallo, MPH, CHES; and Denise Yoshihara, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, discussed ways for oncology nurse and patient navigators to help equip their patients, family members, and caregivers deal with holiday stress and the “new normal” of COVID-19.
The audience, made up of cancer professionals, caregivers, and patients, all expressed an agreed sadness over socially distanced holidays. Cancer and the holidays can be difficult to navigate, but our expert panel offered tips and empathy for those going through it.
Here’s a quick recap of the top 3 takeaways from the discussion.
- Many people, including those dealing with a cancer diagnosis, have unhappy feelings around the holiday season. A 2014 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) survey found that the holidays contribute to feeling sad or dissatisfied, reporting that 68% feel financially strained, and 66% have experienced loneliness.
- COVID-19 presents new challenges for the holiday season, creating a loss of control and uncertain living for patients and caregivers. Isolation during the holiday season can be extremely difficult for patients with cancer.
- The panel took time to speak on resilience. The process of resilience begins after a significant life difficulty and involves ongoing work. To begin practicing resilience, a cancer care team should look at the 3 Rs: refuel, recharge, and replenish.
The panel left the audience with these final thoughts. Resolutions don’t work, practicing resilience does. Be mindful and take care of yourself with these steps:
- Look for the good
- Take 10 mindful minutes for yourself everyday
- Nourish and hydrate
- Radical acts of kindness
- Reimagine your social network
- Acknowledge your fears
- Accept your limitations
Join the conversation during our next Navigate Now: How Can We Help? Facebook Live event on the State of Clinical Trials and the Role of the Navigator, December 2, 2020, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm ET.