It is no secret that for many of us, Christmas will be very different this year, after a tumultuous 2020 and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people will be dealing with the unimaginable loss of loved ones, facing financial hardship due to unemployment or a loss of income, and hundreds more will not be able to see friends and family due to COVID-19 restrictions. It has been a terrible year, affecting our lives in so many different ways, and whilst the Christmas holidays offers a small reprieve from the anxieties of 2020, it will be very different to the Christmas many of us know or would prefer. Whilst making the most out of Christmas is something many of us desperately need, it is also important that you stay safe and keep your loved ones safe. So be sure to follow the guidance from your country’s official health authorities, and follow the seemingly universal rules of washing your hands, wearing a mask, keeping a social distance and keeping social gathering small.
Many may be struggling with worsening mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. So, it is important to seek out help when needed, either from a doctor or therapist. Alongside this, be sure to put some ‘roadblocks’ in place to manage your mood, keep the loneliness at bay and your spirits up during this period. After such a year it often helps to remember what you have to be grateful for and focus on that. If you are suffering from grief this Christmas, focus on self-care and find a supportive network of people that you can talk to, to help you through this difficult time.
Change The Rules
Often celebrations can become disappointing when we have high expectations of them that we are unable to fulfil. If you are spending Christmas alone, or with a reduced number around the table you may consider changing the rules. For those who are spending the period by themselves, why not put together a schedule of activities that YOU would like to do. Who says you have to have a big dinner and watch Christmas films? Would you prefer to read a good book, work on a project, take a Christmas walk, play some games, order a take-away? Whatever you do, spend the time making yourself happy. Stay off social media to avoid comparing your day to others, but remember, many of us are not having the Christmas we desired either, it is not just you. Mind mental health charity said: “you may decide not to mark Christmas this year, and just treat it as if it’s any other day. This may feel easier than trying to celebrate alone.”
Whilst many may be separated from loved ones during this holiday, why not plan to have a ‘honorary’ Christmas at a later date.
Many of us are sick of video calls and keeping up with loved ones via digital means. But with travel restrictions, social restrictions and lockdowns in place over many areas, virtual gatherings are still a great option. Especially for those who are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19, and it may be safer to reduce contact with people. If you are spending Christmas alone, this may bring some cheer to your day as well. It may not be the same as face-to-face interactions but it is still a heart-warming social interaction. You could even enjoy Christmas dinner, present opening or Christmas games over video chat.
Be sure to check in on family and friends that may be alone this Christmas too.
Whilst it is tempting after such a year to pull out all the stops to lift spirits make sure that you are staying safe and being careful when it comes to the spread of COVID-19. You may need to postpone the big family gathering and keep to smaller household gatherings for Christmas day. If you are hosting people in your home, follow social distancing rules, wash your hands regularly, wear masks when appropriate and be careful.
Much advise stipulates that well-ventilated areas and meeting outdoors may be a better option than hosting indoors. So, if applicable, you may choose to host a ‘Christmas Day walk’ to see some of your loved ones in a safer way. Although it may be a difficult Christmas this year, there are ways that you can make the best of it, and look forward to a happier and safer Christmas in the future. So, whatever way you choose to spend Christmas be sure that it complies with your local regulations and make sure to stay safe.