Dealing with stress. 10 Tips from parents of children with cancer

Self-care to survive a childhood cancer diagnosis 

“Your child has cancer”. How do you recover from hearing that? How do you keep going?


Self-care during periods of sadness, confusion, and emotional struggle, like a cancer diagnosis is important. Finding the right tools to help us cope in our own way can be challenging. 

In support of Mental Health Day, we asked ten parents who have navigated the complex emotional highs and lows of a childhood cancer diagnosis, to each share their tried and tested mindfulness tips with us that other patients, parents, and siblings could use to draw strength from in these uncertain times. 

Ten tips parents can practice today

1_Thumbnail.gif  "Focus on the little things, the little wins, and life’s simple pleasures"~ Sarah, Lilly's mum
2_Thumbnail.gif  "Make a window of time to do something for yourself"~ Trudi, Carlyn's mum
3_Thumbnail.gif  "Do a children's guided meditation together before bedtime"~ Vanie, Bella's mum
4_Thumbnail.gif  "Be gentle and kind to yourself"~ Tracey, Zac's mum
5_Thumbnail.gif  "Pop a sign on your front door if you and your family need some space"~ Virginia, Pippa's mum
6_Thumbnail.gif  "If the load gets too heavy ask someone you love to help you carry it for a while"~ Anonymous 
7_Thumbnail.gif  "Always communicate your thoughts and feelings with your partner"~ Fabian, Marcus' dad
8_Thumbnail.gif  "Don’t sweat the small stuff instead enjoy the little things"~ Jo, Lexie's mum
9_Thumbnail.gif  "Take a few deep breaths as a mindfulness moment"~ Anonymous
10_Thumbnail.gif  "Survive one decision at a time, one step at a time"~ Jeff, Will's dad


Creative mindfulness to share with others  

In addition to the 10 actionable mindfulness tips above, this amazing group of parents also sent through a bunch of creative ideas for the whole family to get involved with, as well as providing a relaxed and familiar environment for relieving siblings' stress and worry about their sick brother or sister.

Their thoughtful ideas, some of which are detailed below, remind us that being creative is not only fun, it's also soothing for the soul, promotes positive thinking and creates good vibes too!

The Message Jar:

"After Pippa passed, I came up with an idea that stemmed from a gift she had once given me – a tiny little message in a bottle (no bigger than your thumb) that she had written on an even tinier piece of paper about how much she loved me.

I bought the largest jar I could find, stocked up on colourful paper, pens and ribbons and encouraged her friends and cousins to write their thoughts, feelings and messages down and pop them in the jar. We treasure that jar and the many beautiful thoughts and memories it holds..."

The Not Right Now Sign:

"One of the most useful things I did was make a front door sign.

It read: "Hi, Thanks for dropping by…..Please understand that right now we need some time to ourselves. Feel free to leave us a note or come back again. Love [each of our family's names].."

The #KindnessMatterProject:

"We painted kindness rocks to gift the ward nurses, and we've also just finished 50 cards that we spent time making together during the COVID-19 lockdown.

These will be delivered to the local nursing home once we can visit again. We spent 5 months in complete isolation when Bella was in for her BMT in 2017, so we know how lonely some may be feeling..."

Thank you to each of the parents who took the time to share their mindfulness tips for other families to learn about.


Feeling anxious?
If you or anyone in your family is feeling overwhelmed by the impact of childhood cancer diagnosis, treatment or loss, our Family Counselling Support Program can supply financial aid for individuals seeking professional help to support improved mental health and emotional stability. 
Find out more about our Family Support Program then speak to your Comfort First Clinician or hospital Social Worker for a referral.

About Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is observed each year on the 10th of October.
Organisations around the World dedicate this important day, to raising awareness of mental illness and highlighting ways we can all take an active, positive approach to support ourselves and our loved ones when we feel out-of-control, overwhelmed, anxious or stressed.
This year, the added challenge of a global pandemic is undoubtedly affecting the lives, daily habits and future of families, and the wellbeing and mental health of individuals which is why we are sharing this content.


10 Mindfulness Tips