It's Okay to Not Be Okay!


Hey Everyone! This is a quick note just to introduce this as a start of a series of new blogs that the Victorian Leadership Team will be adding to throughout the year. We hope that these blogs can be something that you personally can really get into. The best part is that this is all interactive! Share your own experiences and thoughts in the comments below, we'll have our own leadership members adding to the discussion also. So have a read, and let us know what you think! We're very keen to hear it!



Why do we shame ourselves for feeling, well, not great?  It feels like we have an inbuilt reaction to answer “good thanks” whenever “how are you” is asked. We respond this way, even when we are not good, maybe even when we are feeling pretty average! Feeling less than okay is completely normal. Additionally, we have been told countless times to reach out to friends and family when we’re not feeling okay. This is great advice! Though, I don’t know about you, but I often find this ends up in an attempt to fix the problem… like I’m a faulty machine? But I’d prefer to be human thanks, so… time to think differently about being not okay I reckon.


I first reached out to CanTeen for support two years after finishing my cancer treatment. You may be asking why I only decided to get involved with CanTeen after treatment? The reason for that is adapting back into regular life was not so regular and, in fact, reconnecting with friends, navigating relationships and dating, and finding my feet at work had put me into a place of anxiety and worry. As someone who was laser focussed on making up for lost time in hospital, I constantly fought these debilitating feelings only to find that fighting emotions is not a very efficient strategy.


CanTeen was fantastic in linking me up with a support worker who introduced me to the concept of sitting with these feelings. Now, I’m not saying that this is easy. These feelings are as heavy as a truck. What I learnt is to detach myself from my feelings, to say “I am feeling worried or anxious about…”. To realise these feelings are not who I am, and that they are really common in a number of different people with different circumstances. 


In fact, another great tool I learnt was to ask myself “What advice would you give to a friend who was experiencing this”. I discovered I actually gave really calming and empathic advice. Beyond thinking about my emotions, I also learnt how important it can be to do something you love! It is the best form of self-care, the goofier the better, or maybe that’s just me XD. 


Finally, I’ve only briefly touched on sitting with your feelings, but there is actually much more involved in the simple process of allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling. If you are interested in learning more about sitting with your feelings check out this link!


This blog has been written by the Victorian Youth Leadership Team, and is based on our own thoughts, feelings, experiences and ideas.

We know that dealing with cancer in our worlds can be challenging, and maybe this post brought something up for you that you would like some help with.

We would love to hear what has helped you when you are not feeling okay?

Please let us all know in the comments section below. 

Thanks for reading our blog post, we have loved having you here!

Stay tuned for more posts from the Victorian Youth Leadership Team! 


We would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few supports that can help if you need it:

-    A Canteen Connect counsellor is only a click away, by pressing the big orange “CHAT TO A COUNSELLOR” button at the top of your screen (between the hours of 10am-10pm AEST Mon-Thu, 10am-6pm AEST Fri and 11am-6pm AEST Sat-Sun).

-   Reach out to your main contact at your local Canteen Office (within business hours).

-   Kids Helpline online at or phone 1800 55 1800 (24/7).

-   Beyond Blue online at or phone 1300 22 4636 (24/7).