For many of us that live alone, the festive season can prove challenging at the best of times. With the added restrictions of COVID-19, it might mean that there are even more barriers than normal for meeting friends and family. This poll by The Guardian indicates that “Twice the number of people as normal” will be spending Christmas alone this year.
It’s key to understand that we’re all individuals and have our own feelings about this time of year. It’s important to not compare yourself to others and what they may or may not be doing. Try to concentrate on doing what’s right for you.
The pandemic during the festive season
For me, living alone during the pandemic has been a rollercoaster of emotions. On the one hand, I have been grateful for my own safe space. I’ve not had to worry about other family members and possibly increasing the risk of spreading the virus to them. But I’ve also missed the spontaneous opportunities to go out and meet friends when I felt the need.
I’m lucky that I have family – but they live two hours away in a Tier 3 area. So I’m currently unable to see them and enjoy the usual festive shopping trips and preparations for this time of year. It usually helps focus my mind. Instead, I will have to decide whether to see them for the limited time that the government guidelines allow.
That in itself needs careful consideration. I sometimes feel like cancelling Christmas completely. This is something that I won’t be embarrassed to share if I feel it is the right thing for me to do.
Here are some tips from national Mind that you may find helpful if you are considering the same.
As someone who relishes the chance to dance and socialize with friends and colleagues at Christmas I finding lacking contact is the biggest issue for me to face. It’s coupled with living alone. While I admit that I sometimes suffer with social anxiety and pick and choose when I go out – it’s reassuring to know that the offer is there. At the moment, the best I can do is ‘mix with six’ alfresco which is better than nothing. But I know this a barrier stopping me socializing and it increases the amount of time that I stay at home alone.
How I cope
I find being kind to myself is key – and I try to face one day at a time. Where possible I’m going to use technology to stay connected. I’m also going to take this time to write good old-fashioned letters to my extended family.
I am also going to focus on the things that I like to do; read more books, get out in nature and walk as much as I can. Having just completed the ‘Step Up Challenge’ there’s no excuses to not continue enjoying the fresh air and local walks.
I have always found that giving my time to others helps me keep a positive outlook. I know that I am making a difference as I volunteer to deliver for the foodbank again this year. I hope that if you are living alone you know that you are not alone.
There are various befriending services, such as Dorset Mind’s, if you would like to connect with someone at this time of year.
My one piece of advice is to be kind to yourself and take each day as a new one.
Thanks to our Ambassador Sarah for this blog. She’s also found a useful article for older people here: What to do if you’re feeling lonely during self-isolation | Campaign to End Loneliness