Don’t be lonely this Christmas!

Posted: 23 December 2020

Loneliness was a mental health issue long before the Covid-19,  but let’s face it, 2020 has only made it worse with social distancing leaving millions of people feeling isolated in the UK.

Throw into the mix the shorter, darker days that winter brings and the inevitable increase of time spent indoors, and it doesn’t take long to realise that mental wellbeing can suffer.

Let’s take a moment to think about how loneliness is moving across our nation at an alarming rate, impacting on mental and physical health… what ‘s more the very people we at St Kath’s care for could be among the most vulnerable, so we try extra hard to make sure that’s not the case. Even then, you can be lonely in a crowded room, or at work, you just need to feel ‘that’ sadness and if there’s no one around to support you it’s the thin end of a very big wedge…

Covid-19 has meant our routines are all out, and familiar things are not where they normally are; add in fewer (or no) interactions with family and friends and anyone could sink into loneliness. Do you or yours feel this? It’s a problem we’ve experienced, and our carers have seen this first-hand and know how to recognise the signs.

Boredom is another trigger, particularly in the case of people whose health has deteriorated and may have previously led a reasonably active life, as many of our customers have.  There’s often no warning either, the change can be abrupt, and loneliness can come down like a shutter. Carers know that activity and mental stimulation needs to be front-and-centre to counteract this.

\It’s a strange Christmas season – isolation, loneliness, distancing, the opposite of what we expect (and value!) at this time of year. No-one likes to be restricted, but it can’t be helped, and we need to be on the lookout for those who are affected most.

Our team at St Katherine’s Care will do everything we can to reduce this impact on the lives of the people they are caring for, as well as keeping an eye on their families where we can.

Do you know (or think) of someone who might be feeling the pinch of loneliness?? Is it you? Here’s some tips to help you/them to feel a little brighter…

  • Head outside – no matter how you are feeling, if you can, get outside whenever possible (and of course at safe distance). When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which trigger positive feelings and energise your mood. A short stroll will suffice
  • Cook up a storm– besides spending time with family and friends, food can be a wonderful part of Christmas. Don’t go without your feast just because you are alone. Still plan a menu. Where you can, cook and bake as these are great forms of meditation. If you’ve got the technology, why not video call friends and family, even a neighbour, and enjoy your meal virtually together?
  • Enjoy ‘me’ time– if being alone this Christmas is unavoidable, try to embrace it. Plan a day for yourself and enjoy your favourite things. Indulge in food, plan your Christmas TV and movie schedule, put some Christmas music on, make time for some of your hobbies or sink into a good book. At least there will be no fighting over the remote or the Quality Street!
  • Stay in touch– You might not be physically in touch with those closest to you but still spend time together. Staying connected makes a huge difference to how you feel. Again, use phone calls, messages or video calls, eat drink and be merry on Zoom or Skype – you can even share opening presents.
  • Speak to someone– You are not alone! A friendly voice or face is always around when you need it most. Don’t be afraid to ask, whether it’s us at St Kath’s, a neighbour, a family member or a community organisation.

So, wear a mask on your face but not on your heart this Christmas!  Now, more than ever, we need to reach out to one another. A simple chat can be all it takes to brighten yours, and someone else’s day.

May you have peace and happiness this festive season,

From all at St Katherine’s Care.