The recent COVID-19 cluster in Sydney has brought disruptions to so many people’s plans of meeting our friends and families in different states. As much as I am aware how these steps by NSW Health are necessary from a public health perspective, I cannot help but to sit and sulk in a corner.
My partner lives in Queensland, and I was only able to meet him 4 times this year due to border restrictions. I am aware and I acknowledge that many people are going through worse during these uncertain times, but it’s also okay to feel how ‘unfair’ and frustrating this can be. Coupled with the fact that my family and best friend live overseas, this holiday season is going to be bittersweet.
It’s okay to not put up a ‘happy’ face for others who will be celebrating with their families.
It’s okay to skip Instagram stories of your friends baking cakes and decorating their Christmas tree.
It’s okay to have feelings of sadness, grief, anxiety and loneliness.
It’s okay to long for a sense of ‘belonging’ and a healthy family.
It’s okay to not want to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve.
It’s okay if you gain some holiday weight.
It’s okay to feel jealous and left out.
Keeping in mind the current situation, here are some tips to tackle homesickness when you’re away from your loved ones:
- Send your loved ones hand-written letters and postcards – a good ol’fashioned thoughtful gesture!
- Accept your reality and use these holidays as an opportunity to release old habits and say yes to new experiences.
- Reach out to your family and friends through video calls to be a part of the celebrations ‘virtually’
- If you hardly get time off work, this could be a great opportunity to hang out with other people who are in the same boat as you and unable to see their friends/family!
- Keep your day occupied and be a tourist in your city! Travelling and exploring alone can be an empowering feeling.
- Pamper yourself and make use of the holiday season sales for some retail therapy.
- Make yourself a hot cuppa and snuggle up in your bed to watch some Christmas movies.
- Plan your self-care routine in case you find the negative emotions pop up again.
- Unfollow social media apps/accounts if they are triggering for you and might cause stress.
- Maintaining a gratitude journal to focus on the love that you have which brings value in your life.
- Volunteering and helping others who are less fortunate can be a rewarding feeling.
- If the feeling of loneliness or grief are overwhelming, do not be afraid to talk to a mental health professional or support line about how you feel.
- You do not necessarily have to be in a celebratory mood. It’s okay to take some time out for yourself and process your feelings in whatever way that makes you feel fulfilled – art, journaling, music play lists, going for a walk or taking a nap.
- If you’re like me in a long-distance relationship, set up a virtual date night with your partner – order some takeout food, dress up and watch your favourite show together. Pamper each other; you made it through the ‘real’ relationship test!
This piece was written by one of the ICLA eFriend Peer Support Workers. eFriend is an online platform where you can connect with a trained peer support worker whom has their own lived experience of feeling lonely, isolated, stressed or worried. You can speak to your eFriend Peer via video or phone call. Your eFriend Peer will listen, validate and provide hope. If you like, they can also assist you to identify any other services you may like to try or help you create plans to improve your personal well-being. Or they can simply listen.
To book your first call visit: https://my.efriend.org.au/preregistration/