The festive season is officially upon us! Many people look forward to being more social, especially with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. But for others, this can be a challenging and unsettling time of year.
December is often very busy as we try to juggle extra social engagements, gift-shopping and finishing off a variety of tasks before the end of the year. It is often a time when there are changes in routine. This could include holiday closures of some services and groups, changes in caring arrangements, household visitors or additional travel.
It is also a time when people who live alone or have limited family or social connections can feel even more isolated.
COVID-19 has added to the seasonal stress, and not just due to the restrictions and fear of catching or spreading the condition. Many families have members with conflicting views about vaccination and this can be very divisive when there are expectations of families coming together to celebrate.
Managing your emotional health
Here are some tips which may be helpful in managing your time and your mental health during the festive season:
- Try to keep as much a routine as possible.
- Have realistic expectations of what you have the time and energy to do.
- Communicate with family and friends about how things may be different this year and how you need to be supported. For more information, read 2.13 Manage how you do and don’t want to be treated.
- Plan to take quiet, downtime to rest and re-charge. For more information read 4.7 Practise self-care.
- Try to connect with people who may be even more socially isolated at this time of year.
- Remember that sometimes, quality time with family and friends in small groups can be more rewarding than large group gatherings.
Managing your physical health
Don’t forget about looking after your physical health as this will in-turn support your emotional health.
- Where possible, continue to keep active every day. For more information read: 4.2 Exercise to boost your physical health.
- There are lots of ‘treat’ foods on offer at this time of the year, but try to eat more vegetables, including different types and colours. For more information read: 4.3 Eat and drink well.
- Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars. Drink more water and less alcohol.
- Finally, make sure you rest well. Try to get around seven or eight hours of sleep every night, and practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. For more information read: 4.4 Rest well.
We hope these tips help to sustain you during the festive season. Thanks to all our contributors and readers for supporting the Forward with Dementia program these last few months. We’d love your feedback to help us improve.