It’s OK to be feeling less than festive at this time of the year. What is more important, is that you take the time to be kind to yourself over the holiday period.


You may not be feeling up to fielding questions from well-meaning friends and relatives nor up to attending big events. You may be feeling uncertain about the year ahead as well or be worried about returning to work after the break. And that is OK.


Here are some ways to relax and enjoy yourself, that won’t break the budget and can be done alone or with company:

  • Make some Christmas or thank you cards – it could be as simple as folding a piece of paper over and drawing, or you could get crafty! Also a great holiday activity for little ones.
  • Do some yoga - look up some yoga or meditation on YouTube and do a class from the comfort of home.
  • Have a song and dance – put the radio on or your favourite tunes, then dance and sing to your heart’s content.
  • Netflix and chill – the phrase coined from the popular streaming service, Netflix, now lends itself to the activity of basically sitting down and watching TV. No matter whether it’s free-to-air or one of the many streaming services now available, getting comfy and watching a movie or a series is a great way to relax.
  • Tech-free time – ditch the phone, tv and computer for an hour and read a book, maybe take a walk or just sit and daydream.
  • Listen to a podcast – podcasts are available for a myriad of subjects these days, and there are many on offer. All you need is an internet-capable device such as a phone, tablet or computer and you’re good to go, though some may require you to download an application in order to listen to them. You may like to check out our own podcasts: The Thing About Cancer and The Thing About Advanced Cancer.
  • Go for a picnic – picnics don’t need to be complicated. It could be as simple as packing a sandwich and taking a mug of tea or coffee into your backyard or hanging out on your verandah. Indoor picnics are also a lot of fun and a great holiday activity if you have little ones about.
  • Make a cuppa – whether it’s tea, coffee or something else, there’s something comforting about enjoying a cuppa and sitting down for a while.
  • Read a book – reading is the original relaxing pastime. Whether you visit a bookstore, your local library or fire up your favourite e-book app, reading can help take your mind off the here and now for a little while.
  • Go for a walk – if you’re able, a simple walk can be amazing. Maybe take the dog out, take your kids or grandkids to the park, have a walk and chat with friends, or just on your own.
  • Take a nap – nothing restores the soul quite so much as sleep. So take a nap whenever you need to, you deserve it.

We’ve also gathered up some practical tips and ideas from Cancer Council, around Australia:

13 11 20 will be open across the holidays on weekdays (closed on the public holidays), if you feel the need to speak to someone in person. Our Information and Support consultants are more than happy to have a chat with you for the cost of a local call from anywhere in Australia.


Some additional resources that may be useful to you are:

  • Emotions and Cancer - a pdf booklet published by Cancer Council
  • Family Dynamics and Cancer -  a podcast produced by Cancer Council, this one covers the changes in family relationships with cancer, and how you can avoid conflict and misunderstandings; which sadly so often happens over the festive season to many families, cancer or not.
  • How do I deal with the 'stuff' people say? - a webinar produced by Cancer Council, that looks at communication over the festive season.
  • Managing Fear -  a podcast produced by Cancer Council that talks about ways to manage fear and anxiety with cancer.
  • Webinars - Cancer Council has produced a number of webinars to date, covering a wide range of topics including fatigue, 
  • Understanding Cancer Booklets - booklets that are published by Cancer Council, covering everything from cancer types to treatments to caring for someone with cancer.
  • The Thing About Cancer - a series of podcasts, covering a lot of different issues such as caring for the carer, how to speak to kids about cancer and making treatment decisions. Definitely worth listening to!
  • The Thing About Advanced Cancer - another series of podcasts, similar to the above but dealing with issues that are specific to advanced cancer.

The Cancer Council Online Community will be available right across the holiday period, moderated by Cancer Council staff. We encourage you to utilise it to chat with others, get things off your chest or ask questions.


Some other organisations that you can reach out to if you feel the need are:

  • CanTeen - a dedicated Australian cancer organisation for young people affected by cancer, and their families. CanTeen have an online community specifically for young people aged 12-25 to share their experiences and seek support, as well as a seperate community for parents affected by cancer.
  • ReachOut Australia - an online community for young people aged 14-25 to chat, connect and support each other.
  • ReachOut Parents - an online community for parents of teenagers to seek support.
  • Beyond Blue are available via 1300 22 4636 with an online forums community to share and seek support.
  • LifeLine are available 24x7 via 13 11 14.
  • Carers Australia: 1800 242 636.
  • Kids Helpline1800 55 1800. For free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling services specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
  • Embrace Multicultural Mental Health - a national platform for multicultural communities and Australian mental health services.
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78.
  • QLife: 1800 184 527 from 3pm-12am. A national counselling and referral service for LGBTI people.
  • Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277.
  • SANE Australia: 1800 18 7263. 
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