From having sex to having a lie-in, 20 ways you can still have a Merry Christmas despite Covid misery
THIS Christmas might not be the most wonderful time of the year.
Many of us may be feeling down, anxious or stressed – especially as the new Covid restrictions have cut us off from our loved ones.
But there are still plenty of ways to get those happy endorphins going and enjoy some seasonal FUN.
Psychologist and wellbeing expert Miriam Akhtar, author of The Little Book Of Happiness, said: “This is the season of reflection and the current restrictions have given us more time to do that.
“Christmas 2020 is going to be very different but what’s important is to find the positive in the negative. The vaccine is here and there will be better days ahead.”
Miriam gives Kate Jackson her top 20 tips on how we can all still enjoy a Merry Christmas . . .
- Stay connected: We might be physically distanced but we don’t have to be socially distanced. Technology has been a lifeline during the pandemic, allowing us to stay in touch with friends and family, and it will be invaluable this Christmas.
- Reconnect: It’s a good time to think about people you have lost touch with and those you would like to see more of. Send a Christmas card or a Zoom invite to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and make plans for a proper catch-up.
- Go for a festive walk: One of the best ways to beat the blues is by doing something physical to get that endorphin release. That includes Christmas Day too — a quick walk around the block will blow the cobwebs away and refresh your mind if you’re feeling low.
- Try dancing: Strictly’s over but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your own glitterball out. Music is a great way to lift the mood. Put on the tunes, festive or otherwise, and have a boogie in your own kitchen disco.
- Go green: Nature provides a lift and it only takes a few minutes of being surrounded by greenery to produce positive emotions. Go to the park or just sit in the garden. If you live near a “blue space”, a river, sea or lake, you’ll get even more of a hit.
- Tis the season to get cosy: When it’s chilly outside, there is nothing better than pulling on thick woolly socks, hunkering down under blankets and lighting the candles. Think like the Scandinavians and their “hygge”, which is all about cosy contentment. Feed the senses by filling your home with scented candles. Stroking a pet also releases oxytocin, the body’s happy hormone.
- Get crafty: If you’ve neglected your hobbies, it’s time to get started again. Or why not spend the extra time at home to start a new one? Knitting, sewing, baking, woodwork, painting — all these activities can take your mind off other worries. They will also give you a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.
- Calm Christmas: It’s always a hectic period but this year, more than ever, it’s vital to take a break from the daily frazzle of life. Switch off all distractions and enjoy the stillness and silence.
- Keep festive traditions: It might feel like there isn’t much point going in for the whole shebang this Christmas but repeating your family’s traditions will give you a feeling of warmth. Maybe that’s pouring yourself a little tipple while you wrap presents or enjoying a nostalgic film together.
- Light therapy: Bars and restaurants might be closed but you can still enjoy an evening outing admiring the neighbours’ festive lights. See if there are any advent window displays nearby.
- Best bits: One of the quickest ways to get a mood boost is to think of the good things that have happened over the year, or the good things in your life right now. It might be thinking back to Clapping for Carers, a hilarious Zoom quiz with friends or just mastering your banana bread recipe.
- Plan for fun times: Make the most of this quiet time of year to think about what you would like to happen in 2021, when Covid restrictions are lifted. We will appreciate the small things more.
- Do a good deed: This month The Sun has been focusing on the issue of loneliness and asking YOU to give just a little of your time to someone who may be vulnerable to loneliness. A quick phone call can really brighten someone’s day and it’ll give you a warm feeling inside too. You can sign up at nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/christmastogether.
- Make an effort on Christmas Day: Even if you’re not seeing anyone else, or just seeing others on Zoom, getting dressed up as you would usually for Christmas will put you in a more positive mood.
- Have a lie in: It’s a brilliant time to catch up on your sleep. It is a fundamental physical need and your mood will improve if you are more rested. So, relax, switch off your devices an hour before you sleep, and allow your mind and body to be resto-red.
- Have sex: If you are upset about not hosting Christmas this year, why not spend the extra time in the bedroom instead. Sex releases oxytocin, giving you a dose of happy hormones.
- Work, rest and play: Children need no encouragement to play but as adults we don’t seem to have space or inclination for the fun factor. Playtime recharges the batteries. Take advantage of having less to do this Christmas, and instead of spending all your time in the kitchen, play with your children and their new toys. If you haven’t got kids in the house, devote more time to your own interests.
18. Drink plenty of water: Dehydration is associated with low mood and fatigue, so make sure you get plenty of water. This is particularly important if you’re having a tipple at Christmas.
19. Watch the Queen on Christmas Day: She helped us when she addressed the nation during the first lockdown and Her Majesty will inspire us all once again.
20. Laughter is the best medicine: Laughing stimulates the production of mood-boosting endorphins. It’s also beneficial for the immune system. Put on an old Morecambe & Wise or a Carry On film, or reminisce with friends over funny times for an instant uplift.
- See positivepsychology training.co.uk and for a free online taster course in positive psychology, go to bit.ly/PosPsyFree2021.
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