Sona Mehring is the founder and CEO of CaringBridge, a nonprofit providing free, personal websites that connect people experiencing a health challenge to their family and friends, making each health journey easier. CaringBridge sites offer a personal and private space to communicate and show support when health matters most. Follow Sona on Twitter – @gogosona.
For all the joy they bring, the holidays can also be a stressful time – especially for anyone facing illness or hospitalization, or for anyone taking care of an ill or hospitalized loved one.
If you’re facing a less-than-merry holiday season because of health concerns, it can be beneficial for you to embrace the support and positive attitudes of your friends. Stay in touch with your friends and family, don’t cut yourself off, and be open to any assistance they want to give to help ease your holiday stress.
People facing a chronic condition can sometimes be so caught up by the demands of the illness that other important needs and priorities fall by the wayside. Oftentimes you don’t realize how much others care and want to know how you’re doing. By sharing what you’re going through, you can form a community of support and help them understand what they can do to make your holiday season a little brighter.
The importance of a strong network of family and friends, even during the healthiest of times, is well established. So, when facing a diagnosis and ongoing treatment, reliance on your network of support for emotional, and sometimes physical, strength becomes even more important.
In the article “How words have the power to heal” by CNNHealth.com contributor, Amanda Enayati, she describes how blogging helped save her life by providing her with a therapeutic outlet to share her experience.
We recently surveyed people who had started a CaringBridge site and received similar responses. Ninety-one percent of respondents said that using CaringBridge to stay connected and share health updates with family and friends helped make their health journey easier and 88% said using CaringBridge positively impacted their healing process. Starting a private, personal site with CaringBridge is one option for staying connected and receiving support. It eases communication and encourages sharing when you need it most. It can be especially useful when family and friends are spread out across the country.
Your supporters want to get involved, but sometimes, they just don’t know how to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help dealing with the special demands of the holidays, like shopping, decorating your home, addressing greeting cards or stopping by with holiday cookies or snacks. They will welcome specific requests for help and you’ll benefit from a little holiday cheer.