This has been a most peculiar year, particularly for our mental health. We’re living under tight restrictions on seeing people face-to-face, and have had to adjust how we keep in touch with people – our family, friends, and work colleagues.
Some people have found a transition to FaceTime or Zoom calls and conversations easy to make. But others have found it more of a challenge. In the run-up to Christmas, and among changing tiers and restrictions, we’re thinking about how we connect with people. And young people in particular.
A wave, a Christmas card left at someone’s door, a call to say, “I’m thinking of you – how are you doing?” – they can all make a massive difference to people.
We’re also loving these virtual ‘You Matter’ cards that you can download and send to someone through email or on social media. Simply letting a friend know that they’re in your thoughts can mean a lot.
How young people can cope with feeling lonely
The Red Cross has researched how loneliness affects young people. And this year, COVID-19 has meant that many young people have spent less time seeing people in person, and a lot more time online.
On the Red Cross website you can find lots of links to top wellbeing tips and links for young people. You can listen to people talk about their experiences of loneliness, and the role technology has in making us feel less, or more, lonely.
There’s a feel-good playlist created by a Red Cross volunteer. She invited people to add their favourite songs that helped them feel better when they felt lonely or sad.
There are also videos and activities on managing worries, and who you can turn to for support.
Help for young people feeling the emotional strain over Christmas
Of course, COVID-19 restrictions have meant many households are having to spend more time together. We have fewer outlets and opportunities to see and mix with other people.
Even before coronavirus, research from relationship support charity Relate has found that more than half (55%) of UK adults think Christmas places an added strain on relationships (2018 statistics). Relate offers relationship counselling for couples and individuals as well as family counselling, young people’s counselling and mediation. And it traditionally sees an increase in enquiries every January after tensions come to a head over Christmas. Some families are pushed to breaking point.
Remember, you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to during the festive period you can contact a member of our safeguarding team at any time.