Coping with cancer and not feeling festive?

12 December 2017 | Annie Miller

Not feeling festive

The holiday season can pose many challenges for people who are affected by cancer. Feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness are common. Cancer Council Information and Support services are available to assist with your concerns and needs.


Self-care and expressing your needs:

  • Give yourself permission to get through this period in the best way you can. Try to accept any limitations you may have and remember celebrations don’t have to be perfect
  • You may experience some difficult thoughts and emotions. Reach out for support from family, friends or support services if you need someone to talk to
  • Let people know that you may need to have a rest. Keep activities simple and non-strenuous as your energy levels may fluctuate
  • Be specific about things people can do to assist
  • Prepare strategies and tactics for before, during, and after a big social event to manage the personal emotional impact of other people’s behaviour
  • Try to look past clumsy comments and understand they rarely have anything to do with you or your loved one with cancer themselves
  • Respond to probing questions in a way that fits your current energy levels, the type of connection you have with that person, your loved one’s preferences and your own communication style
  • Have an exit plan prepared for times when you may find a family gathering or party overwhelming
  • For more detailed methods of communicating about cancer at Christmas, please view our recent webinar “Communication – “How do I deal with the ‘stuff’ people say?”


Cancer Council Information and Support is available for you:

13 11 20 Information and Support
hours over the festive period

  • 24 December: 9am to 5pm
  • 25-26 December: closed
  • 27-28 December: 9am to 5pm
  • 29-30 December: closed
  • 31 December: 9am to 5pm
  • 1 January: closed
  • 2 January: normal hours resume
    Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm

Note: Hours are NSW timezone

Talking to someone about your experiences and feelings can reduce distress and isolation. You can:

  • The Cancer Council Online Community is available 24/7 for people 18 years and over. People under 18 years old are advised to visit CanTeen Australia’s website which is tailored for this age group. The Cancer Council Online Community is a platform where people are encouraged to share their stories in a safe space. Anyone seeking information can view the content within the website, including blogs, online discussions, and all public information.


Other support services:

  • Carry after hours contacts for your treating doctor and hospital
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hour service) and online chat
  • Your local GP
  • Emergency – 000 (24 hours)
  • Family Relationship Advice Line – 1800 050 321 (8am to 8pm M – F and Sat 10 – 4pm. Closed on public holidays)
  • NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 (24 hours)
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 200 526 (24 hours)
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselling Line 1800 737 732 (24 hours)
  • Men’s Line – 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours)
  • Kids Helpline (5 – 25 years) 1800 551 800 (24 hours)