Are you feeling isolated? We know what to do!

Thanks to our incredible supporters, Canteen has been helping reduce isolation for 35 years.

Canteen research has shown that young people dealing with cancer can often feel isolated and alone. This can be caused by isolation to protect the health of cancer patients or the social isolation when no one understands what you’re going through. As we all self-isolate to reduce the impact of COVID-19, you may have similar feelings. The good news is we can all take steps to stay connected and look after ourselves. Canteen has adapted to the digital generation by developing unique ways to connect with and support young people and their families through our online platforms Canteen Connect and Canteen Connect for Parents.

With these challenging times ahead, I would like to share a few tips that we use every day to support our young people that are struggling with isolation during their cancer experience. We hope that these might help you, your family, friends and colleagues stay safe and keep connected through this time of social distancing and working remotely.

Here’s 5 tips to help reduce isolation written by our CEO Peter Orchard

1. Have a chat

Self-isolating doesn’t mean you can’t still catch up with friends – just do it virtually! Last weekend Canteen hosted a digital brunch where young people connected with their friends from across the country. Over a coffee or tea, they got a chance to discuss and normalise their feelings of isolation. Feeling inspired by our young people – why not reconnect with a friend over ‘brunch’, or check out what events we’re running this weekend?

2. Learn a new skill

Is there a hobby you’ve been putting off trying or a new skill you’ve always wanted to learn? There’s no better time to dust off the guitar or pick a paint brush. Why not challenge a friend to join you so you can learn together and hold each other accountable.

3. Take a breath

It’s okay to be feeling overwhelmed. In this brief animation, Dr Russ Harris, author of the international best-seller The Happiness Trap, illustrates how to use ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to deal with the Corona crisis and the fear, anxiety and worry that goes with it.

4. Stop and dance

It may seem silly, but no one’s watching right? Music and dance have always played a key role in our overnight programs and Rec Days. We’ve already seen our young people finding creative ways to come together online to reduce isolation. Have a go yourself – just put on your favourite song and have a boogie in the living room!

5. Watch together

Even a favourite stay-at-home activity like watching TV can get lonely sometimes. So why not pick a new box-set or must-see movie to enjoy at the same time as your friends? This is a favourite amongst our young people. It’s a great way to escape the daily stresses of living with cancer while sharing your favourite plot twists, love-to-hate characters and alternative endings. Let them inspire you and make your social-distancing TV binge a little more social!