New ways to connect at Christmas21 December 2020
If you're struggling with loneliness this festive season, our sister organisation Mates 4 Mates has some tips to help you connect.
The Christmas season means different things to people depending on their social, family, economic, religious and health circumstances. Whilst it is often depicted in the media as a joyous, exciting, and rewarding time, the reality is that not everyone experiences the season like this. This year our circumstances may also be radically altered because of COVID-19 restrictions, changing the way we can connect with others.
Depending on where you live, you may not be able to see those that you traditionally spend this time of year with. If you have relatives or friends overseas, it is highly probable that you won’t be seeing them face to face. If this is the case, it is understandable to feel disappointment, however it is important to think about other ways of appreciating and catching up with your loved ones.
For most of us, COVID-19 has resulted in an increased use of virtual communication and we are fortunate to live in an age where this exists. Appreciating the connectivity that is possible instead of dwelling on what isn’t possible, is a much healthier and helpful way of viewing our circumstances.
ADF families may find that they have now gone for prolonged periods of time without physically seeing each other. This can be especially tough on children, so it is important to talk to them about the reasons why the separation is necessary and assure them that that they will be able to have virtual contact with others on Christmas Day.
Lastly, take advantage of what you can do. Go for a walk-in nature if possible, head to the beach or mountains, and enjoy the freedoms that living in Australia provides. Use the time to relax and not stress about the small issues in life. Whilst you can’t change what isn’t under your control, you can choose to appreciate what you have and make the best of your circumstances.
The good news is that we can all take steps to maintain and strengthen our ties to family and friends, expand our social circles and become more involved in the community around us. Here are some tips to help:
- Reach out to your existing network. Spend time catching up over coffee, walking around a marketplace or watching a movie.
- Make time each day to call a friend or visit someone.
- Start conversations with neighbours or organise a Christmas street get together.
- Use social media to stay in touch with long-distance friends or write a letter.
- Ask people to join you for physical activities, go for a long walk, join a group fitness class, or try a new sport.
- Learn a new skill or focus on what you are interested in. The holiday period can be a great time to revisit an old hobby you’ve set aside and connect with others who share your interests.
- Volunteer to deepen your sense of purpose and help others.
If you’re struggling with loneliness, make a pledge to connect this holiday season. Strengthen those all-important bonds — because when we connect, we thrive.
For 24-hour support over the Christmas break, reach out to Open Arms on 1800 011 046 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.