Tips for coping with our second Covid-19 Christmas
As thoughts turn to a second festive season under the pandemic, Peer from our Digital team shares his tips for coping during another Covid-19 Christmas period.
Put yourself first
Set your boundaries and don't feel bad about declining invites if you have to. Don't feel overly pressured to explain yourself, people will understand that these are exceptional times and that a bit of self-care is what matters.
Tune out of the information overload
The reports on the new Omicron variant of the virus are coming in very quickly, and almost every person has their own take on what is happening. Remember, you don't need to read every article or every take on social media. Instead, check your mobile settings and turn off notifications for your news apps. Better still, check to see what apps are sending updates and uninstall them. If you want to stay informed, set some time aside each morning and evening to log onto the internet. Both Facebook and Twitter have the ability to mute users. Muting someone doesn't mean you have to unfollow them, but you don't see their posts for a while - and they won't be notified that you have done this. Likewise, if someone you are with starts a conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable, don't feel ashamed to gently steer them away from the topic.
Eat well, sleep well
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without over-indulging in rich food and drink. But remember, excessive alcohol and bad food can have a negative impact on your mood and seriously disrupt your sleep. If you are spending time at home this year, there are a lot of places that you can turn to for cooking ideas - Cooking on a bootstrap is one of my faves!
And after a good meal, don't forget to unwind a bit before bed. Spend at least an hour winding down from your day with the television or the internet turned off and relax with a warm bath or maybe a book. If you are tempted to check the internet - be bold… turn off your router so you won't be able to, or leave your phone in another room.
Set time aside for you
For most people, Christmas is the time for being noisy and seeing as much of our family/friends as we can. But for some of us, it can be exhausting. Put an hour each day aside to do the things you enjoy and find that quiet space where you can relax and unwind undisturbed! Christmas is an excellent time for crossing off those last few books from your reading list. And if you are not a reader, grab the family dog and head out somewhere quiet for some much-needed headspace - Fido will enjoy the downtime as much as you, that's for sure.
Talk to your GP or mental health team
Because of the ongoing pandemic and the festive period, your GP will need to make changes to appointments over this period. Check your GP website or email them to find out what support is available during Christmas and make a note of when they are open. It is also good to check that you have enough medication to last you until the new year. If you do find that you run out of medication, you should contact NHS 111 for support. If you find yourself trying to cope with extended periods of anxiety or stress, speak to your doctor. Many GPs now offer telephone consultations - check with your GP surgery to see if this is available where you live. There are also many listening services available over Christmas, such as The Samaritans, and Rethink Mental Illness has a list of other helpful services on our website.
Make it your own
There will be some changes and challenges along the way this Christmas. But if we learned one thing in 2021, it was how to be adaptable. If you can't be with loved ones this Christmas or feel like you would prefer to enjoy the celebrations from afar, think outside of the box! Get your novelty jumpers at the ready, choose a suitable cheesy virtual background and be the talk of the virtual party! A year ago, most of us had not heard of Zoom; 12 months later, I think we've all beamed into at least one family birthday.
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