I was thinking of this topic because of the necessity of having to be alone this Christmas season due to the pandemic. Christmas is usually a time when we get to see our family and friends. We usually have too many social engagements scheduled during this season. This year though most of us may be experiencing the lack of social engagements are causing feelings of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety.
What can support look like this year?
We can reach out to others by mail, electronically, on the phone, or in person. This year though the in-person social gatherings are very limited in scope.
Staying in touch and keeping lines of communication open can provide needed support and encouragement to our family and friends. By providing an ear we could help to alleviate some of those feelings of loneliness.
We may have more time on our hands; so our gifts of support might include:
- Baking cookies for family and friends,
- Shovelling our neighbors’ walk,
- Vetting your books and donating some to local charities or giving some to the little libraries in your neighborhood (A great charity that accepts books in Calgary is Between Friends),
- Going through your closets and donating clothing to local charities, and
- Others you can think of.
Support is enhanced by both giving and receiving
It is also important to identify your needs and how your needs might be satisfied.
If you are feeling especially lonely you might support yourself by asking friends and family if they have time for a phone call. These calls could support you as they may contain needed company, comic relief, warmth, ideas, advice, problem-solving and tangible support. Your phone call might also have the reciprocal benefit of helping the person you connect with feel less isolated as well. They might even realize the value of reaching out and talking to their family and friends.
Seeking support through special service agencies or counselling centers is important to consider as well, especially if you realize your thoughts and feelings need to be supported more than the level family and friends can provide.
Due to the forced isolation, you may notice the extent to which you appreciate your friends and family increasing. Be sure to let them know what they mean to you!
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