a covid conscious christmas
This year more than most, we need to be mindful of others whose Christmas may not be set to be as enjoyable as your own. Covid has impacted everyone in the world, some more than others. There are millions of families who have lost loved ones (and possibly couldn't attend a funeral) who will no doubt be struggling even more at this family orientated time. There are people who have lost jobs, contracts or everything they've ever worked for with entire businesses closing down. Some people who were already unemployed now can't find work to kick start their career. Life plans have been put on hold or cancelled. The list goes on.
So this year for christmas, our theme here at Paws in Work to help make this time pass by positively, is communication.
by Olivia Kennaway, Paws in Work blogger.
make group decisions.
Whilst said with kindness, “Don’t worry I don’t need a present, save your money I know it’s been a tough year for you”, can actually do more damage than good. Humans like to give, it makes us feel nice. Having that option taken from you can actually be more offensive and upsetting despite the good intentions.
set a budget.
Instead of assuming people cannot afford gifts this year, have a discussion about it. Shall we all set a budget or would you prefer not to do gifts? Make it a joint decision between all parties.
avoid the word ‘only’.
“Let's set a budget of only £x amount”. The use of the word ‘only’ is subjective and can be embarrassing for people depending on if they feel that monetary value is a huge amount for them or not (they could also have multiple people to buy for so costs quickly rack up).
Loneliness is real. Especially now that we cannot visit loved ones as freely as usual. Check in with people and genuinely ask how they are. Carve out a specific time period that you will speak to them so you are listening to them and not wondering if you’ve burnt the parsnips. It could be 5 minutes but those 5 minutes will have meant the world to that person.
You could also sign up for the Be My Eyes app, which connects sighted people to those with vision impairments, to help them in their day-to-day. Whether it’s helping answer questions like ‘what colour is this shirt?’ or ‘what does this Christmas card say?’ or maybe you are yourself visually impaired and need help with your Christmas shopping: it’s an uplifting experience for everyone involved.
paws xmas promise.
This year all Paws in Work staff are committing to calling someone we wouldn’t normally call on Christmas Day. A family member, friend, colleague (!?) someone who would appreciate to hear a kind voice and know they’ve been thought of on Xmas day.
Whilst social media is a great way to stay in touch with people it also has its flaws. Be considerate this year. Millions of people will not be able to see loved ones or afford the type of christmas that is normal to them. Social media is flooded with desirable images and “look how amazing my life is” shots. A lot of it isnt true though. If you’re not having a great day, you don’t need to post a photo featuring the 1/10 (the good tenth) of your otherwise rubbish day, which in turn could make someone else feel even worse about their day. Post honest photos or don't post at all this year, just to be extra considerate of others. Similarly, don’t punish yourself with guesses about how great other people’s lives are and how bad yours is by made-up comparison. This is one day! Two, maybe. Most people aren’t having a perfect time. Some are. Some Christmases are better than others. Christmas isn’t the one day we have to measure ourselves against everyone else.
Tests have shown that even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly. Crisps, sweet treats, alcohol: it’s an especially indulgent time of year so don’t forget to stay hydrated. It can fuel anxiety, so if you’re prone, then be especially sure to keep yourself topped up.
drink more water.
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