It's Christmas! A day of joy and togetherness. But Christmas can be a tough time for some, even without a global pandemic to deal with.
With social distancing restrictions causing separation up and down the country, a lot of us have had to change how we celebrate 'the most wonderful time of the year'.
You might be missing festive celebrations with friends or sadly not be able to see your family as planned this year. Whatever the change, take a moment to think about those who will be spending the day on their own.
If you're worried about someone, we've got some advice to help.
Talk about it
A lot of people will feel a burden this time of year and will not necessarily let you know if they're struggling or finding this time of year difficult. So if you're asking someone how they're feeling, ask twice. You might get a more honest answer the second time around.
Remember, talking about what’s going on can be hard so be patient and don't add pressure. Just knowing you're there for support can make someone feel slightly better.
How you might help
For some, spending Christmas alone will be a first and for others they may be used to being alone, but that doesn't make the day any better or easier. Ask if there is anything you can do to help. If suggestions aren't forthcoming, think about what you might like if it were you.
A phone call or video call in the morning to wish them a wonderful day? Deliver a surprise present or dish up a dinner if they're close enough? Sing a carol on their doorstep?
Little moments of joy can help someone get through a long and lonely day.
How to ask someone if they're okay can be difficult when you don't know where to start. It can feel awkward or make you worry about saying the wrong things.
Chances are the person you're reaching out to probably really would love to hear from you, so don't let your hesitation put you off.
Just make sure you approach the conversation with the right intentions and try to keep as open-minded as possible.
Advice and resources
When giving advice, only look to trusted sources of information. Send them links to useful websites where they can read up about potential difficulties, share their experiences with other people and find out how to get help.
Samaritans are updating their Christmas support pages regularly with advice and links to helpful resources. It might be worth taking a look if you're worried about someone during the holidays.
Look after you too
Sometimes the pressures of supporting someone else can build up until it feels as if you just can’t cope anymore. This is completely understandable and may be a sign that you need to try and look after yourself. Look after your own wellbeing and make time for you.
People who are distressed may say hurtful things that they don’t mean – try not to take it personally. We all have good and bad days.
It’s easy to feel frustrated that you can’t make someone feel better or fix their problems, but accepting what’s possible and being aware of your limits can help you feel less helpless.
Ask for help if you need it - just because you’re supporting someone else doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help too. It’s important that you have someone to talk to as well - share your feelings with someone you trust.