Introducing our “Say why to” topic for December…
It’s that time again where we introduce our “Say why to” theme for the next month, and this December we’re talking about isolation over Christmas.
Feeling isolated can happen all year round and can happen to anybody no matter how many people it seems they have around them. But as Christmas approaches, feeling isolated or alone can become more common, especially in the younger and older generations.
Whether this be the physical loneliness of not having anyone close to do festive things with, or the isolation you may feel from your family if your views don’t align on certain things such as politics, Christmas can be quite stressful and isolating for some people. So, for this month’s Say Why to topic we’re going to talk about it and give practical suggestions for how to help yourself, and others, who may be feeling some form of isolation this Christmas.
So firstly… what types of isolation are there?
One of the most spoke about forms of isolation is physical, especially over Christmas. This is often spoken about in terms of adults and elderly people, as it’s estimated nearly 1 million Brits spend Christmas day alone. But physical isolation can affect young people too, and this doesn’t just have to be Christmas day. The run up to Christmas can also be quite lonely if you don’t have close family, friends, or a boyfriend or girlfriend to share it with.
Social media can also play a part in making you feel physically lonely over Christmas. Soon our social media feeds will be full of couples posing with hot chocolate at Christmas markets, and photos of family gatherings making life look perfect. If this isn’t you, don’t worry. Rather than compare what you have with what you see on social media, make the most of what you do have and make the extra effort to include them in your Christmas plans. Who needs a partner or huge group of mates when you can take your nan Christmas shopping instead? You never know, she may be feeling the chill of Christmas isolation too.
The issue with isolation is that it can affect you even if you are surrounded by people – loneliness isn’t just physical! You could be surrounded by all the friends, family and even a significant other but you can still feel isolated and alone over Christmas. Sometimes, the pressure of having so many people around you can cause it too, especially if you consider some of the unrealistic expectations placed upon us around Christmas.
Christmas is often a time when we come together with family we may not see as much of throughout the rest of the year, and this can be a high-pressure situation if some family members have a different outlook on life than you. Common examples of this are older generations having different viewpoints on topics such as politics, sexual orientation and even your current relationship status – and getting a grilling about this over your Christmas dinner probably isn’t your idea of a relaxing day. If you do have family members that come to mind with this, remember that you have every right to leave the table if something they say bugs you. Generational differences are one thing, but making you feel isolated in yourself is another. Whether it’s Christmas or not, you have every right to (politely) walk away from anyone that has toxic attitudes or behaviours towards you or your lifestyle. Read more about dealing with family members of Christmas here.
Can you think of any other types of isolation we should be talking about? Stay tuned for our coping mechanisms coming up in our next “Say Why to Isolation at Christmas” blog post!
If you are struggling with isolation, in any form, over the festive period or anytime for that matter, you’re not alone.
You can reach out to both the Samaritans and ChildLine 24/7 to speak to someone about feeling isolated or alone, find their website and contact number below;
Samaritans – visit https://www.samaritans.org/ or call on 116 123
Childline – visit https://www.childline.org.uk/ or call 0800 1111