Relationships and loneliness at Christmas

No one should be lonely at Christmas, ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. Christmas is a time when we celebrate with friends, neighbours and family. However many older people face the festive season and later life alone.
In 2014 Relate, the relationship support charity, conducted a report, The Way We Are Now, and found that while 90 per cent of people would like to spend Christmas with immediate family, only 54 per cent believe that including extended family members is a priority.   In some cases, the familiar ideal of having the ‘perfect’ Christmas spent with loved ones at family gatherings causes people to feel even more isolated and lonely. This is often exacerbated by shorter, darker days and poor weather conditions that limit opportunities to enjoy getting out and about.   Not only do some people not have a lot of family, friends or money, it can be a testing time as we remember loved ones who are not around anymore. Bereavement at Christmas can seem more painful than usual.   But the reality is that if you’re not having a great Christmas, you’re not alone. It might be useful to start thinking in advance of how to combat loneliness at Christmas for yourself or someone you know:
  • Have a plan. Don’t avoid thinking about it. Your plan could be anything such as cleaning your home, taking a long walk or reading that big novel with your feet up. It doesn’t have to be Christmas related.
  • Do something different. You could take that trip you always wanted or practise a recipe out of your cook book that isn’t turkey.
  • Give to someone else. Volunteering at a night shelter or a soup kitchen is incredibly rewarding and makes you appreciate what you’ve got.
  • Think about the future. You could start researching new employment, study courses or hobbies for the New Year to keep you busy.
It’s important to know that you are not alone. If you are feeling isolated this Christmas; Health Assured are here to help and offer whatever support you need. Whether you just need someone to listen or for proactive advice on resilience and mindfulness. Please get in touch through the helpline and we will support you in whatever way we can or visit the health and wellbeing portal for more information www.healthassuredeap.com

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