Christmas, a time check in with your loved ones

Christmas, a time of joy for most, but unfortunately not for everyone. As you are surrounded by love from your friends and family, take time to think about those who are lonely this Christmas. Christmas can sometimes be a harsh reminder of those who we have lost in previous years. Simply reaching out to a friend or loved one, can make all the difference.

Indeed, Christmas is an incredibly busy period, however, this should not mean neglecting the ones who are closest to you. Such visits and interactions don’t even need to be face to face, and a straightforward zoom call can make such a difference. Christmas is no excuse not to stay connected and reach out.

As mentioned, Christmas can be one of the loneliest times of the year for many, deaf and hearing. Despite being surrounded by warm and friendly communities, these atmospheres can sometimes be the most isolating. Individuals should not feel the need to socialise just because its Christmas. Take care of yourself this Christmas and put yourself first and do not compare your own experiences with those around you. Additionally, be aware of the fact that social media can often paint an unrealistic picture. It may help to take breaks from social media.

Here are a few tips to stay on top of your mental health this Christmas:

  • Keep a regular routine: It is very easy during Christmas to get out of a routine with different plans and social occasions. To help prevent yourself from feeling disrupted and out of pattern, maintaining some form of routine is crucial. This could simply mean, eating at the same times during the day or waking up at a specific time. Rather than jumping into Christmas plans, make sure you ease yourself into what can be an overwhelming period.
  • Plan in advance: Christmas can be a time of many unplanned activities. To prevent this and limit anxiety, talk to your friends prior about timings and budgets. As well as this, make sure you set yourself boundaries to prevent doing too much and getting burnt out.
  • Don’t feel the need to justify yourself: The need to do things over Christmas can be an overwhelming feeling. To make sure you have the most comfortable Christmas, it could help to let friends know that certain situations are difficult for you. Although some friends and family might not be able to fully grasp your situation, one needs to remember that it’s not your responsibility to convince other people that you need to take care of yourself.
  • Looking after yourself: Prioritise your needs. Your thoughts and feelings might not match those who surround you, this does not mean that they are not valid. One should try and distract themselves, perhaps learning a new skill is useful.
  • Overall, if you are struggling, support is out there for you to access: Text SHOUT to 85258, this is a free 24/7 crisis text service.

Supporting others at Christmas:

  • Understand that no Christmas looks the same: Christmas has very different meanings in different households. As a result, there are different feelings associated with Christmas. Take time to realise that celebrations are not universally enjoyed, and perhaps your friend might prefer some one on one time where the pressure to have fun and socialise is removed.
  • Don’t ask intrusive questions: Indeed, speaking about feelings is very important, however, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Individuals should not feel the need to explain their feelings surrounding Christmas or feelings in general. Rather than being intrusive, offer your support and highlight your understanding.
  • If someone doesn’t want to join in, this isn’t a personal attack: It can be disheartening when a friend or family member doesn’t want to attend a social event. Mental health problems such as Anxiety can cause individuals to feel uncomfortable in social scenarios. To make people feel the most comfortable, let them know that you understand that they might not want to join in at what can be a very overwhelming period.
  • Don’t encourage people to drink more or eat more than they want to: Commenting on eating habits or telling someone they haven’t eaten enough is not useful and Christmas is not an excuse for these sort of behaviours. Christmas food traditions can be stressful and sometimes triggering for those with eating disorders.
  • Keep money talks out of the equation: The expectation to spend money is heightened during the Christmas period, resulting in feelings of worry and stress. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has not helped this situation either. To help ease feelings of anxiety surrounding money, one should set a budget to make sure no unnecessary spending occurs. Individuals should be cautious about talking about how much they have spent and understand that everyone’s financial situation is different. There are many free events that you can do, as a family or individually.

Christmas is a period where most feel merry and there is a pressure to feel this way. For some, feeling joyous is not a reality as money worries and social anxiety takes over. Christmas is not always smooth sailing and can be lonely for some. Be sure to check in with those at what can be an overwhelming time. A simple conversation can help make loved ones feel at ease.

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