It’s OK not to be OK

Charlotte Beames
Dec 21, 2023

5 tips for helping loved ones, friends, and colleagues with cancer through the Christmas period

Christmas can be a time of fun, festivities and family, but it can also be an overwhelming and difficult time for many. It can sometimes be hard to know how to best support our friends and family who are struggling, so we would like to share a few ideas that may help:

  1. Remind them it’s OK not to be OK.
  2. Start a conversation to let them know they’re not alone. Perhaps suggest a wander around a local park, a chat over a mince pie or hot chocolate, or a phone call or text.
  3. Keep trying. We don’t always feel like opening up about what is on our mind so it may take a few tries before they feel able to talk about how they’re feeling. Just remind them you are there if they ever want to talk.
  4. Use open questions to encourage reflection and a flowing conversation, such as ‘What’s been going on for you recently?’. Try to avoid questions that will shut the conversation down or that may lead them to give a specific answer, and don’t be afraid of silence.
  5. Reflect back what they’re telling you to show that you are listening. It is not always about suggesting a solution, it can also be about simply allowing them to know they’ve been heard.

These tips are largely inspired by our incredible supporter the Samaritans who would also like to remind us all that they are there 24/7 if you need someone to listen. Call free on 116 123.

We wish you all a very happy Christmas and encourage you to share these tips so that we can all be there for one another through this festive season.

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