Have yourself a COVID safe Christmas

December 2, 2020

In a year unlike any other, preparing for the festive season and summer holidays feels strange for most of us.

Perhaps some are feeling relief, as COVID-19 border restrictions in Australia drop and we start to move more freely.

Even so, there is still much uncertainty around the holiday season, and many are limping to the 2020 finish line.

Mindset

There are a few approaches people could take to this festive season. You could write it off completely – as finances and circumstances will make it difficult to manage any meaningful celebration.

You might continue as usual, or bigger than usual, making a special effort to blast away difficulties the sorrows of the year and celebrate all that has been achieved.

For New York-based best-selling author Gretchen Rubin, making plans is fraught. But her mindset is admirable:

“For myself, as I face the unknown future, I’m trying not to exhaust myself by worrying about plans before I have the necessary information. I’m reminding myself to be flexible

I’m also reminding myself to be grateful.”

Writer Dierdre Macken reflected on how unique this summer is to all others in recent memory – and to cherish it.

“Remind the family that this [is] a very special holiday when Australians stayed in their own country without tourists, without many expectations, without much virus but with the generosity of friends or family.”

The mindset you foster during this season will be crucial in supporting your mental health, and the mental health of those around you.

Protecting your mental health

The festive season can be great: fostering family connections, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying family traditions. All these elements of celebration are good for our mental health.

But for many, there are strains on our situations and relationships like never before. The usually difficult Christmas season is all the more bleak considering the weight of the year behind us.

So it’s important to observe how you are feeling and take action when appropriate. Some of the feelings and signs to look out for include:

  • confusion
  • isolation
  • stigma (feeling bad about being sick)
  • distress
  • mental health decline (depression and anxiety)
  • irritability and anger
  • misuse of alcohol and drugs
  • not wanting to follow recommendations or restrictions.

This infographic shows some ways you can protect your mental health.

'Taking care of your mental health during COVID-19
Infographic courtesy of healthdirect

Remember to seek help if you experience distress or any decline in your mental health over this period. You can speak to someone you trust or contact:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14 (operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Kids Helpline – for children that may need support 1800 55 1800 https://kidshelpline.com.au

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 https://beyondblue.org.au

To speak with an InstantScripts GP:

Request Consultation

To request a script:

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Keeping COVID Safe

By now, we feel like we’ve heard it all a million times: wash your hands, stay 1.5m apart, stay at home if you feel unwell, get tested if you have symptoms.

Although it’s tempting to take these measures for granted, Australia has proved to the world that sensible measures can make a huge impact. So, take a deep breath and keep on following the recommendations of the pandemic experts.

COVID-19 coronavirus - how to avoid infection
Infographic courtesy of healthdirect

What’s doable? Freedoms and restrictions over the Christmas season

With COVID restrictions coming and going like flies on a summer BBQ, it can be really tricky to keep track of what’s allowed and what’s not.

The Australian Government has helpfully curated all the state and territory restrictions.

Here’s how it works. Say you live in Victoria and want to see if you can go and visit your Aunty in Western Australia. Clicking the link above:

  • Choose the activity ‘Domestic Travel’. This takes you to a page with all the states and territories.
  • You then choose ‘Western Australia’. This takes you to a page that describes the border restrictions for Western Australia.
  • Read through this page to discover the current requirements for visitors coming from Victoria.

This festive and holiday season may feel different to all those preceding it. But there’s hope in sight. Australians have managed to contain much of the spread of the coronavirus. And on the horizon is the hope of an effective vaccine (or two, or three) coming in 2021.

Well done, all. Have a safe and happy festive season.

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