With the festive season taking hold, many of us look forward to a Christmas time of celebrating with loved ones and enjoying some well-deserved time off. However, for many of our frontline staff and the residents we support, Christmas can also be a very difficult period for a wide variety of reasons.
It is often a busy time of year and pressure can increase, resulting in some people feeling unable to cope. One in ten people over the festive season consider taking their own lives due to how alone they feel and at least 17% of people feel lonelier than any other time of the year, according to mental health charity Mind’s website.
Mind also discovered that millennials are twice as likely as elderly people to feel lonely at Christmas, showing the importance of supporting young people during the festive season.
Impact of COVID-19 restrictions on festive socialising
2020 has been a year like no other. COVID-19 has created multiple lockdowns that has entrenched many worldwide. It has impacted not just one calibre of people but literally every person in different ways, from celebrities to our homeless communities. Restrictions on socialising during this festive season is leaving people fighting for their lives, fighting against anxiety and depression, and the pandemic has left many of us feeling vulnerable and uncertain about what the future might hold.
5 Top tips for making this Christmas special
- Give someone a festive call
During COVID-19, many people do not have family surrounding them and could do with hearing a friendly voice. It is not just good for their mental health but yours too!
- Host a virtual family event
If you can’t physically visit loved ones this year, why not host an online event for your friends and family to enjoy such as a Murder Mystery (with themed meals and dressing up of course!) or a virtual Escape Room challenge or Quiz Night. You can make it special by posting out themed invitations and awarding digital prizes!
- Send someone a small gift or card
It’s always nice to know that someone is thinking of you during a difficult time. Even the smallest token gesture can make a big impact on a person’s wellbeing.
- Drop off food at your local YMCA hostel or outside someone’s house
Toiletries or food that can be preserved, such as cheap tins or bags of pasta, can go a long way to helping a neighbour or vulnerable person feel valued. Many people can’t get to the shops, cannot afford food due to unemployment or are afraid/anxious about going out during the pandemic so any contributions will be much appreciated.
- Donate to a Charity
Show a YMCA resident you care by donating items via our Amazon Wishlist or on our website from the comfort of your home so every resident has a present to open on Christmas Day.
Remember to wear a mask, wash your hands, keep a safe distance! Help keep yourself and each other safe and positive by following government guidelines and looking for reasons to smile each day.
For more information on how to stay safe during this Christmas period, visit the official NHS website.