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 community members 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 people sometimes 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.
How to spread Christmas cheer in 2021
1. 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! Sharing the love always feels great. If a young person you know is struggling with loneliness, you can also put them in touch with The Wolfpack Project in Nottingham, which helps young people to connect with others through a range of activities to help combat loneliness all year round.
2. 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!
3. Write a letter or send a care package
Not everyone can be together this Christmas, so why not write a heartfelt letter or send a care package to someone you know will be alone this winter. It’s always lovely to know that someone is thinking of you, especially during such an emotionally trying year. Even the smallest token gesture can make a big impact on a person’s wellbeing.
4. Put on your comfiest pjs and watch a feel-good movie!
Crack open the festive nibbles and settle in for a Christmas feel-good movie with a loved one. If you’re alone this Christmas, remember to grab a warming festive drink, blanket and hot water bottle for the ultimate cosy winter experience!
5. Drop off food at your local YMCA hostel
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.
6. Donate a Christmas Gift
Show a YMCA resident you care by giving a gift or donating online from the comfort of your home so every resident has a present to open on Christmas Day.
Remember to wear a mask when moving around indoors, wash your hands regularly and keep a safe distance! Let’s help keep ourselves and each other safe and positive by following government guidelines and looking for reasons to smile each day.
To help boost safety in our communities, we strongly urge everyone to get their booster vaccine as soon as its available to you by booking an appointment through your GP or through the NHS website.
For support on how to navigate COVID-19 anxiety during this Christmas period, visit the official NHS website.