06 Dec Reducing Isolation at Christmas.
Although Christmas is often thought of as a time of joy unfortunately for a lot of Australians it can be a time of isolation and dread. Things such as distance from loved ones, financial difficulty, mental health issues and conflict can be reasons why someone might find Christmas challenging. There are however ways to reduce isolation and find meaning and connection during this time.
We’ll explore some of these below:
- Volunteer – volunteering can be a good way to share with and help others. Places such as soup kitchens, hospitals, community health centres and or councils are busy at Christmas time and are very appreciative of people wanting to donate their time. These places often help with things such as meals, giving toys and clothes to those in need.
- Exercise – is an activity that encourages the production of endorphins and serotonin. These are what I call the ‘happy chemicals’ as they positively impact our moods and general well being. The good thing about exercise is that it doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous. Things such as a brisk walk, a short run or a bike ride can do the trick.
- Practice gratitude: It’s not unusual for us to forget about those things we have and tend to focus of those we are missing out of at this time of the year. A roof over your head, a job and general health and well-being are definitely things to be grateful for. By bringing your attention to these things, you are likely to notice a shift in your moods from feeling low and down to feeling more positive.
- Go to church: If there’s one time of the year when churches are busy is at Christmas time on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Churches are also likely to have gatherings following their service. If this appeals to you, find out the different church services your local parish will be offering.
- Take up invites: If you happen to be invited to join someone for Christmas, think twice before turning them down. Some of the reasons people turn down invitations are for things such as not wanting to be a burden to others, believing others are inviting you because they feel sorry for you, or not wanting to impose. At times it can also be because people may experience anxiety and are unsure of how they may be with people they don’t know well. Try to keep in mind, this is generally a time when people tend to be generous and want to share what they have with others. So, if you are invited, take up those offers.
- Catch up with things to do around the house: This may be an opportunity to catch up with some of the jobs you have been putting off for a while. Doing some of these tasks is likely not only to distract you, but give you a sense of purpose and reduce overwhelm.
- Catch up with your favourite TV show: This can be your time to feel guilt free for binge TV watching. If you decide to do this, plan which shows you want to watch and don’t forget to treat yourself to some delicious snacks.
- Pamper yourself: This is something we generally don’t do much of. We may buy special gifts for others, but hardly ever do we do this for ourselves. Pampering doesn’t have to mean buying yourself a present if your budget doesn’t allow it. Having a nice warm bubble bath, an extra long shower, burning oils or incense, reading a book you have been putting off, buying nice chocolates and taking your time to savour them or even cooking yourself a nice meal are all examples of how you could treat yourself without breaking the budget.
- Join your local Christmas Celebration: Most councils host Christmas functions for the community. Some of those functions are Carols by candlelight, morning teas, lunches and or dinners. Contact your local council to find out more about what they are hosting.
There are services open 365 days. Some of these are:
Life Line: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
Suicide call back 1300 659 467
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263
Headspace (youth telephone line – supporting 12-25 year olds). Open from 9am – 1am
If you feel like you might benefit from speaking to a Psychologist during this time, please get in touch on 03 9328 63 63. Or click here to book an appointment through our website.