If you feel unwell or need support, the Christmas and New Year season can be difficult. Clinical Nurse Specialist, Jane Murphy, offers some tips and places where you can get help.
Preparing for the festive season
Over the festive period, it can feel as though everything has shut down. Clinics are cancelled and GP surgeries are closed. This year, because of the way Christmas falls, these services will only be closed for two days but it can feel isolating. Getting emotional support or medical advice might be difficult.
There are things you can do to prepare.
- Find out your GP opening times and the process for speaking to a doctor out of hours.
- If you are having treatment, ask your hospital team if they operate any out-of-hours services (patients having chemotherapy are usually given a contact for this when they start treatment).
- If you are concerned or if you are away from home, make sure you know the location and opening hours of your nearest urgent care centre and for the nearest 24-hour Accident and Emergency department.
- In England and Scotland you can dial 111 when you have an urgent healthcare need. Some areas of Wales have a 111 service otherwise you can call NHS Direct Wales. The out of hours contact details for Northern Ireland vary depending on location.
Someone to talk to
Our Helpline is open on Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but then reopens on Thursday 27 December. We close again on New Year’s Day but open the day after.
Breast Cancer Care’s Online forum is a welcoming community where you can get practical and emotional support.
Some other organisations you might want to contact over the Christmas period are:
Samaritans – operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many people believe the Samaritans are only for people who are feeling suicidal. This is not the case. They are there to listen and talk through whatever concerns you might have.
The Silver Line – offers a helpline and friendship service for people aged 55 and over.
Age UK – free, confidential, national phone service for older people, their families, friends and carers.
Macmillan Cancer Support – provides emotional and practical support, or can listen if you need to talk.
CRUSE – is for anyone affected by bereavement.
Our BECCA app also has tips on coping during this time.