A Coronavirus Christmas

The number one thing I am asked at the moment is “how are people going to take care of their mental health THIS Christmas?” The truth is that festive celebrations may look a little different this year, and it is understandable that this may leave many of us feeling disappointed, sad or worried. We have never been in a situation like this before so there are no set rules but here are some things to consider to look after your health and wellbeing this festive season.
Plan ahead – if your Christmas needs to be a little different this year think ahead on how you are going to spend your time. If you are going to be spending time alone; take some time to put aside your favourite movies, activities, books to ensure you keep occupied and have some fun.
Remember Christmas Day is one day – although many people may spend a week celebrating the holidays the majority of shops and services will be open the day before and day after Christmas. Be sure to engage with the community rather than become isolated and withdrawn.
Avoid comparisons – if you know that you are drawn to making comparisons to others then minimise opportunities to do this. Take some time away from social media; and remember that most people post their ‘highlight reel’ rather than their reality.
Take time out – there is no doubt that this year has been challenging. Many of us may have been busy with work, volunteering and taking care of others and the last thing we need is for the holidays to be an added pressure. Really take some time to consider what is a priority this Christmas; does staying up all night making sure the Christmas cake is ready and the decorations look perfect really that important?
Find other ways to connect – its time to think outside of the box and consider ways that you can connect with your loved ones. Perhaps you can connect digitally or even send a letter. Connecting is going to feel good not only for you but those that you are connecting with.
Practice acceptance – it is really easy to focus on how we would like thing to be or how things ‘should’ be. Instead focus your energy on what you can control; ask yourself “How can I, in this situation, make this the best possible Christmas for me?”
Take good care – spending more time at home may make it easier to eat and drink more than we would usually. Although in the moment this may feel good, it can have an impact on our mood. Be a little mindful of how you are taking care of your physical health too.
If you are unable to physically be with your loved ones this holiday season it is understandable that this may be a worry. If you are concerned about having this conversation the best thing you can do is have the conversation. Letting your loved ones know of your plans allows them time to put in place alternative plans and start to prepare practically and emotionally for the holiday. The truth is that this may be a emotional conversation, but as best you can be open to hear how this makes the other person feel and validate this. Its okay that this makes them feel sad or angry. Once they have time to process how they feel you can be on hand to support them think through what may be helpful for them this christmas.

If you need support this Christmas, the number one thing you can do is reach out for support. Talk to someone you trust or one of the many support services that will be available during the festive period.

Samaritans are available on free phone 116 123
Mind offer a lot of information via their website on www.mind.org.uk

Posted on: 18th December 2020