Making the most of the holidays when you have an asbestos related disease

Christmas is often seen as a special time for renewing contact with family and friends. This is when we create memories that we’ll cherish for months and sometimes years to come.

But for people facing health challenges it can be a difficult time. Lisa Hyde-Barrett from the American organisation Mesothelioma Help says, “When your world has been upended… or you are not feeling the holiday mood, [Christmas] can be hard to do. Sometimes it’s necessary to dig down deep within yourself” to find the resources to get along with those around us and join in the festive spirit.

The best Christmas presents don’t always cost money

We often put a lot of energy into finding the right presents for those we love. When we’re unwell this may no longer be possible. But the best present we can give now might be a letter or a phone call, an email or a text. Christmas is an opportunity to say thank you for times shared in the past and to strengthen bonds of love and friendship in the present.

One Christmas I shared a phone conversation with my first boss. It was a few weeks before he died. He knew that it would be his last Christmas. I took the chance to thank him for his advice and encouragement over the years. Our conversation meant a lot to us both.

Christmas is a good time for gratitude

Lisa Hyde-Barrett says, Christmas is not just about “spending money shopping, decorating and baking.” It can be a good time “to stop and thank someone for their kindness.” She says, “Tell someone that you’re grateful for their support and [for being with you] on your journey.” She also reminds us to be grateful when someone stops to listen to us “when it would have been easier for them not to take the time”.

This might just be the key to a happier Christmas.

Photo © Neil Bishop

You can read Lisa’s article here.