November 21, 2023

A heartfelt message from our nurse Victoria as we lead into the festive season

When you or a loved one is facing a new diagnosis, going through treatment or when your whānau has lost someone you hold dear, this time of year can be difficult to manage. Sometimes, you can feel an increased pressure to make this one particular day THE MOST AMAZING DAY EVER! And let’s face it, sometimes that just isn’t possible.

I’ve put together some tips from many different sites and people that might make getting through the holiday season a little easier. I hope there is something that gels with you that you can use.

Cut yourself some slack – Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t need to be big or expensive. And if you’re not up to it, either reschedule or outsource the day.

Ask for help – This can be so incredibly difficult for some of us. However, I’ve learnt that if it were someone else, we would be only too happy to help them. Allow those close to you who offer the blessing and opportunity to support you during the holiday season.

Try something new – Perhaps you could try a new tradition this year. Instead of a full sit-down meal, maybe have a BBQ or picnic where everyone brings a plate. Or book a restaurant and have someone else do all the cooking and clearing.

It’s OK to feel how you feel -There are days that you will feel better than others. If you are in the waiting phase over the Christmas period, it can be hard to concentrate on anything else. If you’re struggling and tired, that’s OK. Let your whānau know. If you’re grieving, this can be a difficult time, as memories can come flooding back when you least expect them. Take time to remember, laugh, cry and miss your loved one. There will be a gap; acknowledge it rather than trying to fill it with everything else.

Be as prepared as you can be – Accept that this may be a really stressful time for you and do things to ‘fill you up’ so you have the energy and emotional reserves to cope as best you can. On the ‘good days’ beforehand, look at preparing food, gifts or anything else you can do. Shop online and have gifts delivered. Get kids or others to help with wrapping, or just label the box as is for the person it’s for.

Plan to rest – If necessary, block out times of the day to just rest – however that looks for you. Plan your day around your rest times and let whānau know when you will be resting so they can be out of the house and/or quiet.

Set boundaries – If you don’t want to talk about your diagnosis, condition, or grief, then let people know that for this one day, you’d rather not discuss it. It’s OK for everyone – yourself included – to have a day off from everything.

Enjoy your whānau and the time you have. It is a season to be with loved ones. Take the time to sit back and enjoy that. All the good, the bad and the downright funny that goes with being part of whānau can be celebrated – and that’s OK.

Share stories, share tears, share aroha and be as present in the moment as you can be. It may well not be perfect. However, it can still be awesome.

And remember, there is still help and support available for you if you need it over the Christmas period.