No need for lonely hol­i­days

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Christ­mas is for many a time of love, fam­ily and fes­tiv­ity but some peo­ple find it a lonely and over­whelm­ing oc­ca­sion.

For this rea­son the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion is re­mind­ing New Zealan­ders to con­nect with each other to make sure the sea­son is a happy one.

Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Judi Cle­ments says the fi­nan­cial and so­cial obli­ga­tions that some­times ac­com­pany Christ­mas can cause stress and anx­i­ety and th­ese feel­ings can be wors­ened when a per­son is iso­lated.

‘‘Most peo­ple have time off from work and school over the Christ­mas pe­riod, so it is a great time to con­nect, or re­con­nect, with fam­ily, friends, col­leagues and neigh­bours,’’ she says.

‘‘Feel­ing iso­lated and lonely af­fects men­tal health and well­be­ing and we know peo­ple are more likely to feel this way at Christ­mas time.

‘‘Strength­en­ing and re­new­ing re­la­tion­ships en­riches lives and im­proves well­be­ing.’’

The foun­da­tion will be help­ing New Zealan­ders find ways to con­nect this hol­i­day sea­son with a fes­tive se­ries on Face­book and will be shar­ing an idea on how to have a con­nected, happy and men­tally healthy hol­i­day ev­ery week­day un­til Christ­mas Eve. Ways to con­nect: Ring or mes­sage friends you haven’t spo­ken to in a while

Go to a lo­cal event such as free con­certs, movies in parks and Christ­mas light dis­plays

Spread some fes­tive cheer by writ­ing hol­i­day cards – es­pe­cially to the peo­ple in your life who make life eas­ier in lit­tle ways and may oth­er­wise go un­ac­knowl­edged, like your postie or rub­bish col­lec­tor

Or­gan­ise a get to­gether with your neigh­bours

Make con­tact with peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who might be feel­ing alone. A phone call or quick visit can make some­one’s day

Have an open door on Christ­mas Day – think about the peo­ple you know who might be spend­ing Christ­mas alone and in­vite them over.

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