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At this time of year, we’re used to the hustle and bustle of the party season, last-minute shopping, domestic preparations or travel to organise – all on top of the shower of urgent work requests as the year comes to an end. In 2020, the holiday season is likely to feel very different, so how do you protect your mental health and achieve some level of peace with so much of the traditional fun and festivities on hold this year?

#1 Make sure you’re working at home, not living at work

Yes, there are lots of deadlines to meet before the break but now more than ever, it’s important to set boundaries and make sure work doesn’t take over and prevent you from finding that so well-deserved peace and tranquility. Find our advice from earlier this year about managing your physical space here. Make sure you’re getting regular breaks and spending time on other activities, even if the traditional holiday parties and entertainments are missing.

If you’re used to being away for the holidays but will have to stay at home this year, try to see this as an opportunity. “Deck the halls” and get cosy. Plan outdoor activities into every day, even if the weather is not great. You could even use some time off to re-organise your work space, so that you feel fresher when you come back after the break.

 

#2 Celebrate the contact that you can have

For many of us, the holiday season is a time to reconnect with family and friends, providing vital social contact that refreshes our spirits. If you’re a natural extrovert and will miss the buzz of a big gathering, try to re-frame and find the positive in the situation. Mixing less is the safest option for more at-risk populations, so think “I’m protecting my family”, rather than “We’re missing out on family time.” Whilst we’re all feeling “Zoomed” out, modern technology does mean we can connect with those we can’t physically visit so make the most of it and look forward to plans for a reunion later in 2021.

With the cancellation of so many traditional activities, such as pantomimes and carol concerts, it’s easy to feel short-changed. Instead, why not take the opportunity to organise something local? Find 11 neighbours to join you and turn your local area into a spectacle as each of you decorate and light up your front windows for 12 days of Christmas. Or focus on giving back; set yourself up as a (socially-distanced) collection point for the local food bank and take the opportunity to exchange festive good wishes with people as they drop off donations.

 

#3 Recharge your reserves

If you feel depleted after the challenges of 2020, you’re not alone. Make sure you plan to spend time on something restorative. This might be exercise, meditation or reflection – listen to Obelisk consultants who are also well-being experts sharing some of their ideas here.

 

#4 Try something new

Whilst there is comfort in our holiday rituals and habits, trying something new, however small, can inject some excitement and positivity – and is a good practice to keep your brain healthy. With the extra time at home this season, why not try a new author, get up to speed on a new technology or sample one of our Obelisk festive recipes.

 

#5 Ditch the gifts

If shopping for presents feels like an added burden at the moment, why not choose to reduce the number you buy this year? Charities of all kinds are feeling the pinch this year, so think about donating instead – here are some of the organisations the team at Obelisk are supporting:

  • Care for Calais and Safe Passage are doing vital work to support refugees this winter
  • Trussell Trust is feeding those who would otherwise go without and food banks are receiving less donations this year due to the pandemic
  • Crisis provides essential support to the homeless
  • LawCare provides specific support for the legal profession’s mental health.

Other ideas for a less material festive season include only buying for the younger members of the family, doing a Secret Santa, setting a maximum spend or buying consumables, such as flowers or food.

Whatever your holiday plans, we hope you find some time to recharge your batteries, find some peace and get ready for the new year ahead.

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