In these uncertain and challenging times we are realising the importance of managing stress more than ever before. Adding a cancer diagnosis or cancer treatment of oneself or a loved one to the worldwide Covid-19 crisis can leave people feeling anxious, overwhelmed and struggling.

Reducing our stress levels and building resilience can help us through these times. There are lots of ways that we can do this- different tools work for different individuals. There are many activities and techniques that can be tried. Not all strategies have to be big. Small things used regularly can help greatly and have a large impact of our wellbeing. A range of tools in your kete can be useful.

These different techniques can be described as Breathers, Restorers and Sustainers.

Breathers: These techniques can be used often and at times when feeling stressed or after recent stressful situations. They need little preparation and you are likely to use some of these daily. Suggestions for Breathers include:

  • Walking outside and breathing deeply, counting to 10
  • A quick scream into a pillow
  • Humour
  • Listening to a favourite song or piece of music
  • Drawing, crafts or jigsaw puzzle
  • Tearing up paper
  • Gardening
  • Walking the dog


Sustainers: These require a bit more effort and planning but will help you keep going in the present situation. You are more likely to use one/some of these weekly.

Suggestions for Sustainers include:

  • Writing about your feelings
  • Spending time with supportive people (or Skype/Zoom)
  • Going out for dinner (when this is happening again)
  • Watching a movie
  • Time out alone for a walk, some exercise or physical activity
  • Going to a place that is special to you
  • Doing something different for a day


Restorers: These require more effort and commitment. They will increase your ability to manage, thrive and function longer term. Regular use of these techniques is good but possibly less often, maybe weekly, fortnightly or monthly will be easier to manage.

Suggestions for Restorers include:

  • Counselling
  • Meditation
  • Spiritual beliefs and rituals
  • Learning assertiveness skills and/or problem-solving skills
  • Yoga
  • Life coaching



Reproduced with the permission of Maxine Rosenfield Grad Dip Couns,, Dip Training and Learning Development, Trainer and Assessor TAE 40110 (Cert IV) and acknowledgement to Jane Hutchens B.Health Science.




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