Support Tools: Battling the feeling of isolation during the Holidays

The time of year has come when many people start to think about the Holiday Season. Getting together with loved ones near and far, sharing a meal, and spending time with family and friends. However, the Holiday Season can be a tough time for a lot of people, especially if you are experiencing changes with your health, including a brain tumour diagnosis.

Your health care team may want you to avoid large gatherings for fear of getting sick or catching the flu, you may be feeling tired and not want to go out of the house, or you may have just completed surgery and feel uncertain on how best to celebrate the season. No doubt if you are new to this journey you will experience a lot of changes.

First and foremost, I think the best “gift” you can give yourself is permission to say “no” during the Holiday Season. If a family member is asking too much of you or if you would rather not attend a large gathering, it is perfectly acceptable to say: “Thank you for the invite or opportunity to help, I appreciate you thinking of me, but I think it is best if I stay home and rest today”. Remember you know yourself best and if you feel that you are taking on too much during the holiday season then, chances are, you are right! Stay home and rest.

What if you find yourself just not wanting to be with people who may not “get” what you are going through? If you are feeling lonely and want to connect this holiday season to those who may understand what you are going through, then reach out and find the right people and share your story.

Right people include your best friend, a trusted member of your church, or a close relative. It must be someone you trust, who you are comfortable to be around (perhaps in your pajamas), who is good at helping, and is good at listening. Most of the time we do not want people to fix our problems, we just want people to listen.

If you find that you are having these lonely feelings in the middle of the night when you cannot sleep, then write them down. You would be amazed how therapeutic it is to have a journal and write out your thoughts. If this does not appeal to you or you would rather connect to a brain tumour survivor, then I would suggest that you login to our Closed Facebook Support Group. Here you can connect with over 700 brain tumour survivors and caregivers across Canada any time of the day, seven days a week, in a way that none of your other friends and family can see.

Finally, exercise! By going for a walk, swim, jog, your body will release endorphins which will help towards relieving stress and making you feel better. Do not underestimate the power of exercise. But please don’t overdo it either. Listen to your body.

There are going to be bad days and that is ok. No one is positive all the time and it is ok to be sad, angry, and frustrated. Let yourself have this time. But if you find that you are feeling this way for extended periods then I would suggest that you reach out and get some help. You can start by contacting Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada as we can provide “tips” on feeling better or direct you to resources in your local area.

When our office is closed for the Holiday Season, please visit Mental Health Canada in order to access online resources as well as a national database of healthcare professionals available by province.

Wishing you all the very best during the Holiday Season! 

This article was written by one of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada's Support Services Specialists.


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For more information about support on the journey with a brain tumour, please contact us:

Cheryl Bauer
Support Services Specialist
1-800-265-5106/ 519-642-7755 ext. 400

Todd Goold
Support Services Specialist
1-800-265-5106/ 519-642-7755 ext. 237

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