Celebrating festivals and occasions during the COVID-19 restrictions
Autumn is making way for winter. The days are colder, the nights are longer and COVID-19 lockdown restrictions continue.
The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and up to date information here.
Marking special occasions during the pandemic
How to celebrate during the restrictions
- Focus on kindness – try to divert your attention away from what you can’t have and instead focus on what kind things you can do for others and for yourself.
- Be there for each other – try to have conversations with family and friends about how you’re feeling, listen to how others are coping and act with empathy and understanding.
- Take time to be grateful - appreciate the joyful little moments. Reflecting on all you have to be grateful for can really lift your mood.
- Gift giving – if you feel the need to buy more gifts than usual – perhaps to compensate for celebrations being different this year – remember that this is a normal feeling, but not something you need to do. We’re all in this together and you and your gifts are enough. You don’t need to compensate for things beyond your control. If money is tight this year, remember not to stretch beyond your means and consider doing something creative or thoughtful rather than spending more money.
- Be aware of overindulging - regardless of whether we can have large celebrations or not, it’s important to keep an eye on what you’re drinking, eating and spending. Some people may turn to alcohol, food, shopping and illegal drugs to help cope with stress.
- Celebrating with children - why not start a ‘living history’ scrapbooking project to commemorate how you celebrated in 2020? Explain that in years to come this will be an important document of how we lived. Similarly, older children and adults may want to journal their thoughts and feelings at this time. Additionally, this may be a time your children usually get together with cousins or their friends. You could try to keep them connected through video calls, so they feel included.
- Do something different - this year you could let someone you know that you’re thinking of them with a heartfelt, handwritten note. If you can’t buy stamps or get to the post office, you could always send a digital card through social media or email, through companies like SmileBox or Paperless Post.
- Maintain traditions – you could try to stick to the traditions that you have in place. Whether it’s making a particular meal, or decorating your home on a certain day, by maintaining these traditions you can create a sense of normality.
- Stick to the rules - if you’re feeling under pressure from friends or family to break the rules, remember why we are in lockdown. It is for the safety of everyone, including ourselves, to stick to government guidelines. By following the rules, we all contribute to a healthier society. Keep up to date with guidelines in your area: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
Further help and information:
- Samaritans – is available 24/7 for free on 116 123 (UK) and whatever you’re going through they’re here to face it with you.
- Step Change – is a charity that provides free, impartial debt advice over the phone. Call them on 0800 138 1111.
- BEAT – is the UK’s eating disorders charity. They have a helpline available 365 days of the year, 9am – 8pm Mon to Fri and 4pm – 8pm on weekends and bank holidays. Call them on 0808 801 0677 (UK).
- Talk to Frank - provides free practical drug advice, You can call Talk to Frank's helpline on 0300 123 6600 (UK) or text them on 82111 (UK), they're available 24/7.
- Drink Aware - provides advice, information and support on drinking and alcohol misuse. They have a free, confidential helpline for anyone who is concerned about their drinking, or someone else's. Call them on 0300 123 1110 (UK) weekdays 9am to 8pm and weekends 11am to 4pm.