Whilst Christmas is generally characterised as a joyful time spent with friends, family and plenty of food - this is not always the case for everyone.
Particularly this year, people are having to make difficult decisions as to which households they are picking for their Christmas Day bubble, deciding not to see anyone at all, or being unable to see anyone due to Tier 4 restrictions - which is the case for most of Essex.
Whatever way you're spending Christmas, keep these four things in mind…
We know it's been particularly difficult to make plans this year, but we have to continue to try our best. Planning ahead for Christmas interrupts chaos and confusion and allows you to prepare ahead of time - even if that means circling out the very best TV programmes for the day. And when we say plan ahead, we also mean discussing the plans of your loved ones too, to try and stop anybody from having a lonely Christmas.
If you think you may be lonely on Christmas day, remember that there is an abundance of technology available, so you could even take part in a virtual Christmas day on Zoom for instance. If you need help in getting set up, request a demonstration on 0800 368 7314 or use their chat service located on their homepage in the bottom right-hand corner.
Alternatively, you could chat with a friendly charity like The Silver Line who provide information, friendship and advice to older people, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Understand what makes you happy
Pigs in blankets? An old Christmas film? Lots of pretty lights? Whatever ticks your festive box. Whether you're going to be alone or with family, self-care is key. Think about what makes you truly happy over the festive season and try your best to make it happen, within the guidelines of your area. Equally, discuss this with others and make it a collaborative effort if you can.
Communication is key
It’s human nature to have different thoughts, feelings and wishes. To avoid unnecessary conflict, confusion or upset, being open and honest about your emotions will do wonders for your mental health, whilst allowing your friends and family to better support you. It’s so important to listen just as much as you talk. Everyone's feelings are valid and we really ought to be looking after each other at this time, not judging them.
Don’t pressure yourself
In our modern world, everything seems to be documented and photographed. Our brains are wired to compare, but we shouldn’t let it dictate our own happiness. If you feel that images of others who are able to have a normal Christmas this year may upset you, try and avoid social media, or even mute/block certain accounts that are triggering you. You should place no pressure on yourself to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas, but instead do your best to take care of yourself and others around you.
Whatever you're doing, everyone from the Essex Wellbeing Service would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Our opening hours over Christmas are as follows:
- Thursday 24th December - closing at the earlier time of 5:00 pm
- Friday 25th December - open from 10 am - 12 pm
- Saturday 26th - 28th December - open from 10 am - 1 pm
- Tuesday 29th December - normal service resumes