As we enter the second week of December, many of us are beginning to get into the festive swing of things by preparing to take time off and celebrate with friends and family. Whilst it’s wonderful to do this, it is also at time for pause and reflection. We should never forget that it is a privilege to be able to spend time with loved ones (whether it be at Christmas or when celebrating any important event). For many, this can be the hardest time of the year for many reasons – it can make existing problems feel worse, alongside bringing new ones to light.
The last two years have no doubt increased awareness surrounding mental health issues and so it’s important now more than ever to be mindful of how the festive season can mean something different for everyone. Supporting those who find this time difficult is as good a gift as any, and this can be done simply by letting them know that we are there for them, we understand how they are feeling, and reminding them that they are not alone in finding this time of year hard.
We have captured below a few small acts of kindness that can make a big impact on someone who really needs it during this time.
Chat to your neighbours: this sounds like a simple thing to do, and the beauty of that is because it is. These sorts of social interactions can be so valuable to those who live alone, so why not stop for a chat the next time you see your neighbour, or pop round for a mince pie?
Invite people to do things: you don’t have to ask someone round on Christmas Day, but inviting them to do something in the run up to it can make a meaningful impact to their holiday period. Even if they refuse your offer, please know it was appreciated. They know you cared enough to ask.
Become a volunteer: a number of charities exist to make Christmas a more enjoyable time for those who struggle during it. To list a few, Age UK runs a ‘befriending’ service where you can volunteer to visit or phone vulnerable people. The Community Christmas Campaign encourages people to set up events for lonely and disconnected people over the festive season and you can advertise them on their website. Additionally, the Casserole Club lets you share an extra portion of a home-cooked meal with those who need it.
Send Christmas cards: in this digital age (and we are big fans of digital), it can sometimes feel old-fashioned to send out physical Christmas cards, but for those who find this time hard and who aren’t used to receiving many, it can mean the world to be delivered a personalised hand-written message to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Please remember it’s also incredibly important to take care of yourself, so make sure you reserve some time in the coming weeks to process the events of the last year and recharge for the new year ahead.
Photo credit to Columbia Center for the Arts