It’s the most wonderful time of the year, apparently – and for many people, it really is. A chance to take a break from work, be with family, and enjoy the jolly festivities. Yet, for some, the pressure that often comes with this holiday can be harder to navigate.
Add to that, a global pandemic that has brought more hardships to this season than ever before, it’s completely understandable that some of us may be suffering at this time of year. In fact, according to a recent survey, 84% of the UK feel that Christmas will be different for them this year, with ‘lonely’, ‘depressing’ and ‘different’ being three key words attributed to it.
In light of this, we’ve put together a short list of tips that you can try this year if you’re finding Christmas challenging, or want ways to keep the winter blues at bay.
Check in with people if you can
Not everyone has the luxury of having loved ones around, and particularly this year, our circles may be smaller thanks to social distancing and the like. If you can, check in regularly with at least one person. It can be easier to isolate yourself when feeling low, but by having contact with someone every day (even over the phone), it may ease some of the burden. If that’s not possible, YouTube, podcasts and TV can be brilliant for offering up some company or background noise.
Spread some Christmas spirit
A lot of us suffer with loneliness at Christmas, and if that’s the case, helping others could be the way to help yourself. Volunteering for a good cause, offering to help a vulnerable neighbour with shopping, making someone else a meal, or even posting some Christmas cards will greatly lift others, while giving you a purpose. It’s amazing how doing some good can be so infectious and fulfilling, while potentially broadening your friendships all at the same time.
Don’t let conventions overwhelm you
We’re told that Christmas is for big families, board games, overly extravagant festive feasts and happiness. Yet this pressure to conform to the conventions of Christmas, and the consequent sadness that comes if yours doesn’t live up to it can be overwhelming. Christmas is whatever you make it; if that’s some time to relax from work, or some TV and a quiet meal, then so be it – think about making it a day which is suited to your happiness, rather than what it’s supposed to be. A day to eat and drink absolutely anything you want… what could be better!?
Let comedy be your friend
Many say that laughter is the best medicine, and thanks to the endorphins it can produce, it’s not far off. This effective mood booster has multiple benefits; it helps keep spirits high, it makes people feel less lonely, and it provides a light-hearted distraction if this time isn’t something you want to think about. Luckily, even if you don’t like Christmas, the television game is really upped at this time of year. So, check out all the channel guides and Netflix releases, and save some of your favourite funny shows for when you need them most.
With lockdown restrictions and social distancing in place, it can feel like there is very little we can do right now. However, not only does the fresh air hold clarifying benefits for both our mental and physical health – it’s something we can do safely, while still getting a change of scenery. Take a tour of your area in the winter weather; think Christmas lights, decorated trees, and crisp air. And if the silence bothers you, put on some music or a podcast while you stroll.
Whatever your stance on Christmas is, we hope this helps. And remember, stay in touch with people where you can, create a schedule for your break so you know what is coming, and don’t be pressurised into making this day anything other than what it means to you.