This year has been challenging for us all, and Christmas is likely to be a little different. In normal times, the festive period is a time of reflection, and after a difficult year, many people may be reflecting on complicated feelings or experiences. Our team has created the following guidance for you and your family.

Here are 5 Ways you can Have a Healthy and Connected Christmas:

1. Talk It Out

We live in a seemingly connected world, where we continuously communicate with others. But a study by Age UK claims that more than half (57%) of the UK population ‘bottles up’ their worries and problems.

Talking about our worries, problems, and concerns can help us feel more supported and less lonely. When you ask someone how they’re doing this Christmas period, and they answer ‘fine’ – ask them how they’re really doing.

Try asking some open questions to improve the quality of your conversation, these could be:

  • It’s been a hard year, how have you been coping?
  • What are your hopes for the coming year?
  • How have you been supporting your family and friends with everything that’s been going on?

The pandemic has brought shared suffering and frustration, with everyone being impacted in some way. Sharing these experiences and talking about them will help us feel closer and more connected this Christmas.

If you’d rather not talk to someone you know or feel like you aren’t ready yet, check out the resources at the bottom of this page.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about being calm, present and focused on what’s around you. There are lots of ways to practice mindfulness, and some enjoy creative activities, exercise or meditation. If you’re new to mindfulness, there are lots of apps that play relaxing music and guided meditations designed to help you practice.

Mindfulness allows people to develop healthier, more compassionate responses to their own experiences, their lives and others around them. Some people associate mindfulness with spiritual practice, but scientists agree these practices do improve our health.

You can read more about mindfulness on Mind’s Website and learn more about mindfulness in the videos below.

3. Develop a Self-Care Routine

Christmas is usually a time of intense socialising, busy family gatherings and financial pressures. These pressures may look a little different, with more online gatherings than in person. Developing a set of activities you can schedule to practice self-care will support you and your family in having a healthier Christmas.

You might want to schedule pampering sessions, family walks, alone time, or relaxing activities you enjoy. Make sure you have enough of these during the holiday period to keep your energy levels topped up and your resilience in check.

If you remember one thing, it should be this from the Mental Health Foundation:

“Balance your sense of social obligations against your need for self-care.”

4. Create Structure

This year some of us have described the feeling of ‘groundlessness’ or the feeling that there was no ground beneath our feet. This sense of anxiety and uncertainty has been a significant challenge for those with new or existing mental health concerns.

Researchers have found that routines can have far-reaching psychological benefits. Routines are particularly important for children, young people and anyone who may be feeling overwhelmed or low on resilience. Creating a schedule can help you and others be productive, feel more secure and less stressed. 

Read more about the psychological benefits of routines.

Scheduler for Lower Primary

Download this flexible visual daily schedule for reliable family routines.

Download PDF

Scheduler for Upper Primary

Download this flexible daily schedule for reliable family routines.

Download PDF

5. Connect With Others

Almost everyone has had some form of restriction placed on where they go, or who they could see at some point this year. With pandemic restrictions still with us, we won’t be seeing everyone this Christmas. 

This can be worrisome if you know that certain people you usually see may be isolated. You might want to plan how you can use technology to have a more #ConnectedChristmas with those you care about. 

Create a ‘catch up’ schedule to plan video calls with friends you would see around Christmas in normal times. You can do these all back to back or slot them into your Christmas plans. 

Check out Our Safety Centre for more information on the features and safety settings on these platforms. 

Visit our Safeguarding Hub

Members of our network receive weekly updates on the trends, risks and threats to children and young people online.
These updates include access to articles, resources and factsheets to help make sure you’re ahead of the curve.

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