Mental Health Mondays: A Covid Christmas - How to be there for those who are missing their families.
There is no way of sugar coating it. Regardless of how well Australia has handled Covid-19, some of us and our nearest and dearest will still be heavily impacted by it over the festive season. Even as borders tentatively open, travel is still horrifically expensive and not as simple as it once was - and that is of course just on the home front.
Because of this, many will be having a smaller Christmas without being able to see their loved ones in person. Given our easing restrictions it can be easy to not give as much thought to this as we may have earlier in the year. Unfortunately, Skype and FaceTime are just not the same as a hug.
Our friends who are experiencing the hardship of this distance, will be going through a grieving process during this time and as with all types of grief, there is no handbook as to how to be there for someone. Grief is an intensely personal experience to each individual. No two people grieve the same way and in no way are the stages of grief a linear process.
Before jumping in and inviting them for Christmas lunch or squeezing them in between other events, ask one question to your friend...
What do YOU need from ME this festive season?
Clear communication is key to any successful relationship, but even more so when helping others going through difficult times. Based the relationship, we may believe we know what our friends need and want, then in turn with the best of intentions provide this and not receive the response we expect. As a result it is normal to feel hurt or rejected. However, this situation isn't about us which is why by asking the question, you are able to best help them feel loved, supported and included.
Sometimes we can be panicked by the response 'I would like to be alone' or similar. Unless there are other signals that you may find concerning, take heed of what is being asked of you. Feel free to send an occasional text or call, but allow your friend to take the time and space they need to process their situation in their own individual way.
Should you or someone you know need professional assistance navigating such as situation, please contact me for further information on how I may be able to help.
Claire @ The Health & Wellbeing Haven