As we prepared for the festive season in 2020, many of us talked about it being a once in a lifetime year – and of the hope that 2021 would bring. Yet with Christmas rapidly approaching after another tumultuous year of constant change, it’s natural to feel a little … deflated, frustrated or anxious.
With state borders opening and restrictions easing across the country, many families and loved ones are looking forward to reuniting after significant time apart. While this is a joyous time for many, navigating life in a COVID-19 world while living with lung disease or lung cancer may cause feelings of anxiety and fear.
We asked our community what you wanted to know to help you through this time. So, here are our top tips.
Keep yourself safe
It’s a very busy time of the year which can make going out feel overwhelming. If you’re able to, utilise delivery services or ask a loved one to help you by picking up the things you need and dropping them to you.
If possible, opt for open plan shopping centres, restaurants or cafes and consider taking a friend or family member with you for support.
When venturing out and travelling, particularly on a flight, you may be feeling apprehensive about maintaining COVID-safe practices. Staying vigilant about hand hygiene, social distancing and mask wearing are important steps to protect yourself. Try to carry your own hand sanitiser and extra masks to help you feel prepared. Be sure to follow the state or territory government advice and regulations for where you are.
Set boundaries to help yourself feel comfortable
Talking to others about what you need to feel safe during this time can be difficult, particularly if there are conflicting opinions. Being extra cautious and risk adverse may increase feelings of isolation but taking steps to feel comfortable should be your highest priority.
You may ask that people, even your closest family and friends, maintain social distancing during your time together. If you’re entertaining or visiting loved ones, you might ask for everyone to sit in a cool spot outside rather than indoors in an enclosed room.
While this time of the year is synonymous with gatherings, both large and small, it’s important to put your own physical and mental health first. Avoid putting any unnecessary pressure on yourself.
That might mean limiting your socialising or opting to stay home all together. If this is the case, there are lots of other ways you can stay connected such as video calls and messages – schedule time to connect virtually with your loved ones over a meal or play a game together over FaceTime.
Don’t overdo it
The Christmas holiday season is a busy time. Overloading your schedule can lead to feelings of stress and fatigue. Plan your days to include enough time for you to rest and recover. Making time to do a simple mindfulness exercise such as ‘the five senses’ or one of our short self-compassion guided practices can make all the difference.
Your mind matters
Our mental health hub, Mind Matters, provides information, resources and strategies to help you look after your emotional wellbeing. It covers a range of topics including adapting to change, big feelings, advice for carers and coping during COVID-19.