This year has been a rollercoaster of changing rules and regulations thanks to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, many people in the UK have been affected by these new rules and regulations. Some of these new rules have resulted in much of the population having to spend long periods in their homes, some not being able to mix with other households, and millions of children being off school for long periods of time. Studies by The Office of National Statistics have shown that the pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s wellbeing, with more than 69% of UK adults being affected.
With the festive season approaching, many of you may be worried about how you will cope with the newly announced plans for the festive period. We have some tips to tackle loneliness, especially if you’re unable to spend time with loved ones at this time of year.
Christmas with covidCurrent rules state that if you have covid or covid symptoms, or if you have been in direct contact with somebody with covid, you must self-isolate. Even if you test negative for covid, there are some instances in which you must still stay in your home for at least ten days. Should this happen during the festive season, you may feel very alone without being in physical contact with friends or family. Long term, these feelings of loneliness could lead to anxiety and perhaps even depression.
Thankfully, modern devices enable us to stay in touch with family and friends via video-calls which can help us to feel part of the celebrations even if we can’t be there in person. If you are all alone and suffering with covid symptoms, reach out to loved ones for companionship and practical help if necessary. Over 60s who don’t have any family or friends can get help and company via organisations such as Age Concern who can provide weekly telephone calls to people feeling isolated and alone. There are other organisations who provide support for different age groups in the form of helplines too.
Get outside – if you canEven those in high risk areas are currently permitted to socialise outdoors, adhering to social distancing rules, and maximum numbers of people/households. Get into the festive mood and grab some mince pies and a flask of tea (or mulled wine if you fancy) and organise an outdoor get together at the nearest park or public green space. The elements shouldn’t be too much of a hinderance if you wrap up warm, pull on your wellies and bring a brolly. Being outdoors can work wonders for your mental health, as can a catch-up with friends you may not have seen in a while. Christmas gatherings may be very different this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be fun.
Bubble-upSingle parents and people living alone are still permitted to join one other household, which is known as forming a 'support bubble'. This means you can join others in your bubble in the run up to Christmas and New Year. Try to create a bubble with a local household so that transport won’t be too much of a bother. If your only option is to be in a bubble with loved ones further afield, try to arrange transport well in advance for you to join them or vice versa. If you haven’t yet formed a support bubble, contact family and friends you would like to spend time with and discuss creating a bubble with them. In addition to these rules for single parents and people living alone, new regulations were announced this week to extend the bubble concept allowing up to three households to meet indoors for Christmas. If you need some human contact over the festive period, this may also be an option for you to join with others to celebrate.
If you are struggling with loneliness, you may find this page from the NHS helpful. It looks at some things you can do to feel less lonely during the coronavirus pandemic.
For more tips on how to make the most of the Christmas season despite the lockdown restrictions, why not book a place at our free webinar How to Have a Merry Lockdown Christmas.