Being alone in the festive season

2017-12-20 06:00
Mental health experts advise those who will be alone over the festive period to keep occupied. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Mental health experts advise those who will be alone over the festive period to keep occupied. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

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PEOPLE who have to be away from family or alone during the festive season should indulge in a hobby or go somewhere public.

Mental health experts told Weekend Witnessthat the “bombardment” of images of happy families during the holidays can make it tough for people who are alone. Making the situation worse was that the country effectively shuts down, so opportunities to keep occupied are limited, they said.

Information and awareness programme manager at the South African Federation for Mental Health, Marthe Kotze, said Christmas was associated with creating happy memories with loved ones. This could have adverse effects on those who are excluded from such experiences.

“If you have hobbies, go out and do them. If you can’t see family, try to reach out to a friend.

“Don’t be afraid to call friends and don’t think that you are bothering them if you contact them.”

Kotze also warned people that eating unhealthy comfort food, drinking or taking substances could have a negative long-term effect.

Psychologist Kevin Fourie also stressed the importance of making every effort to keep occupied.

He also recommended using social media to find others in similar situations and to reach out to them.

“If at all possible, they should get away to somewhere where there are people they can be around, like a holiday resort,” he added.

“Alternatively, do an activity like hiking or cycling, keep busy with games or puzzles or anything to keep occupied. Just sitting around can be depressing.”

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