Coping with cancer over the holidays

For those impacted by cancer, experiences of the festive season can induce a range of feelings. Some people will enjoy a time of celebration, for others it may be a difficult time of stress and feelings of pressure and grief. We have put together a list of suggestions that may help make the season less stressful.

Be prepared

It’s common for health services to shut down or operate at reduced hours over the festive period. It might be difficult to get medications, medical assistance or emotional support at this time. Having a plan in place to deal with any medical concerns can help reduce stress. Before the holidays commence get in touch with your GP, pharmacy and members of your health team to find out when they will be closed and what out-of-hours support they offer. If you are going away, find out where your nearest hospital emergency department is located. In case of a health emergency don’t be afraid to call ‘000’ or attend the emergency department of your nearest hospital.

Stay flexible

Festivities can be tiring. When making plans it is a good idea to advise your host that your plans may change depending on how you are feeling on the day. It‘s important to listen to your body and rest often. You may need to leave an event early if you aren’t coping or even turn down invitations and that’s ok. Everyone will understand.

Share the load

It’s time to take the pressure off. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You may like help with shopping for presents, food preparation or travel arrangements. Remember it’s also ok to take on fewer tasks at this time.

Seek support

You may be experiencing a range of emotions at this time. It’s not uncommon to feel pressure to stay happy and positive. This mental pressure can be exhausting. You may find your moods shifting from positivity and enjoyment to sadness and anxiety. This is completely normal. Acknowledging your feelings in the moment can help relieve stress and the pressure to ‘stay positive’. You may also find it difficult to talk to loved ones about how you are feeling at this time. There are a range of support services that can be accessed 24 hours a day.

  • Cancer Council: 13 11 20
  • Cancer Council Online Community (link to /)
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
  • Carers Australia: 1800 242 636
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Pancare Support Services
During the holiday season, crisis support will be available to existing patients, carers and families.

> Learn more about our available services over the holidays

The PanSupport team wish you a comfortable and safe Christmas and we look forward to connecting with you again in the New Year.