The holiday season is a time for celebration, where we usually exchange gifts, spend time with family, visit loved ones and indulge in festive treats.
Many expats living in the UAE often travel home at this time of year to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, many are unable to make this trip.
Dr Haseeb Rohilla, Psychiatrist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai says: “Some may find this very challenging, and it will require a great deal of mental strength and determination to navigate a period which is synonymous with meeting loved ones and enjoying the company of others.”
7 tips to help you during this year’s festive season
We understand that the challenges of being away from family and friends during the holiday season may be weighing heavy on your heart. Within this blog, we have put together tips and advice to help you stay well throughout this year’s festive season:
- Spread out your schedule – keep your diary as full as possible during this time. Organise your working hours, regular (virtual) catch ups with family and friends and schedule in time for hobbies and self-care. By keeping busy and maintaining structure, this can help you to keep your mood up.
- Be realistic – this holiday season will be different, so be realistic yet also kind and compassionate towards what you will achieve and how you will feel. Accept that things won’t be as they usually are. As difficult at this is, we are seeing progress and are hopeful this will not last forever.
- Communicate – still do the festive activities that you would normally do, using video technology. Dr Rohilla explains: “Digital communication can play a big role in filling the emotional gap, and I would urge all those spending the festive period alone to make the most of video calls to connect with family and friends. While this can never be the same as seeing someone in person, it still provides an opportunity to feel involved and to share their own experience with those they care most about.”
- Meet with other expats – it is likely that other expats who you know in the UAE are going through a similar experience to you. Reach out to them, meet up and share what you are going through.
- Try making a daily gratitude list – try to focus on the positives by keeping a daily gratitude list over the holidays. In the evenings, write down five things that you are grateful for and in the mornings, spend time reflecting on what you’d written. Recognising the good in your life will help you to have a more positive frame of mind at this understandably difficult time.
- Take a break from social media – when you’re scrolling on social media, it can be easy to compare yourself to other people, which will only leave you feeling worse. It can also be quite insular and take away for the connectivity we can have through phone calls or zoom calls.
- Relax and look after yourself – this holiday season will be challenging, so be kind to yourself. Get plenty of rest, treat yourself to your favourite foods, spend time relaxing and doing the things that you enjoy and surround yourself with positive influences. Also, don’t forget about regular exercise, which can be a great way to boost your mood.
Seek professional support
If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health condition such as depression, stress or anxiety, it may be that you need to seek professional support. Our experienced psychiatrists and psychologist are committed to providing everyone we see with the expert treatment they need in order to start feeling better.
More information about the mental health treatment we offer can be found here.