Planning ahead can make a big difference. Here, we break down the best ways to prepare for the upcoming festive season so that you have the right supports in place throughout the holidays.
The festive season is almost upon us! While there can be a lot of joy and relaxation during the festive season, there can also be some changes to usual routines or support services. Planning ahead for these potential disruptions can ensure that you’re properly prepared throughout the holidays, which can offer a great comfort for your mental health and wellbeing.
Here, we outline some simple steps you can take that will cover your bases during times of varied service hours or reduced accessibility to normal supports. With a bit of planning and the use of our downloadable checklist, you can feel prepared and confident heading into the holiday period.
Evaluate and Consider
With many NDIS services closing down or reducing hours during the holidays, it’s important to evaluate your options and consider how you can support yourself through these temporary changes. Follow our prompts below and think about how these can apply to you and your situation.
At One Good* Day, we always like to start with your strengths. What are some areas that you’ve succeeded in when supporting yourself and your psychosocial disability? Think about past holidays and periods of changed routine. How did you use your strengths as self-support mechanisms, and when you did need extra support, how did you manage to secure it?
Other examples of strengths can be self-awareness, good support-seeking skills, and an understanding of your early warning signs and actions that can help.
Whatever your strengths might be, try jotting them down to use to your advantage. You’re already good at them, after all!
- Things I’m looking forward to:
The festive season isn’t all about preparations and support planning. It’s important to focus on the good things, too, even if only small. What are you looking forward to about this time of year? Are there any traditions your friends or family like to do? What could you get involved in that would bring you some well-deserved joy?
From summer weather to Christmas cooking, there’s a lot of enjoyable things about the holidays. Focus on these positives as a way to foster calm and happiness.
- Triggers and early warning signs:
There can be a lot of heightened emotions during the festive season. While these emotions may not necessarily be negative, they can add additional stress.
Nurture your mental health by considering your triggers to a potential crisis. Is there anything that might cause stress that you can plan to avoid? Are there certain people or activities that contribute to stress that you may come into contact with? Plan ahead and think about ways to avoid these instances altogether, or ways to reduce the amount of time you’re exposed to them.
Give yourself a refresher of your early warning signs. Is there anything you might notice in yourself that indicates it’s time to seek additional support? Try to pinpoint these signs and create a list of alternate focuses or activities that you can go to should these warning signs occur.
Let’s get down to some actionable planning. Being proactive with your mental health can make all the difference when faced with a tough situation, or when dealing with reduced NDIS support systems over the holiday period.
Firstly, we recommend you check on your usual supports. Many offices close down or have reduced hours over this time of year, so it’s important to know these details for services you regularly use. Contact your Recovery Coach to find out how they can assist you during the holidays, or if there are any other support services (like online systems or phone services) that could act as a Plan B.
Make a list of the people and available services you can ask for support during a crisis, should a crisis occur. Among your family and friends, who do you feel comfortable seeking support with and what would you need to tell them in preparation for this? Which professional services are open and accessible during this period, and is there anything you need to do prior to accessing them?
Write down details of your key contacts and find out what their hours are over the holidays. If family members or friends are on this list, ask whether they’re travelling over this time and make a note of those dates.
Next, think about mental health distractions. If you feel unwell, what are some activities or actions you can do yourself to find calmness and safety? These are also important to do while additional support is on the way. Distractions can also be in the form of people. Is there anyone in your key contact list who makes you feel better? Think about ways you could contact or interact with this person until further support arrives.
Finally, evaluate your environment. Are there ways you can create a safer or less stressful atmosphere for yourself during the holidays? Creating a safe space can be incredibly beneficial not only in times of crisis, but also for your general health and wellbeing. Take some time to look at your surroundings and make changes or additions where possible. This might look like cleaning out your bedroom to clear clutter and have more space to breathe, or adding in certain items or activities that bring you calm.
If you’re struggling, seek assistance from your Recovery Coach. We can support you in thinking outside the box to create a solid Plan B so that all areas of your needs are covered.
Focus on the Fun
With all these preparations and considerations for your mental health, we want to bring attention to something else that will not only support your psychosocial disability, but that will also create a much-needed breather from the busy year: have fun!
Take some time off to spend with loved ones, get into the festive spirit and let yourself enjoy this time. By shifting your focus to the fun aspects of the festive season, you’re distracting yourself from the potential stressors, which is a great way to support your mental health.
Look into what’s going on in your community or local area. From carols to markets to goodwill drives, there are lots of festive activities happening in our communities. If you prefer to stay in the comfort of your surroundings, that’s absolutely fine as well. Try joining some festivities with your friends or family if and when you feel comfortable doing so.
Finally, we encourage you to reflect and plan ahead. What have you achieved this year that you’re proud of? How did your Recovery Coach support you to make positive steps in your mental health journey? What would you like to work on for next year, and where would you like to be in the next twelve months? Acknowledge your successes and use them as inspiration for goals to set in 2023.
Download our Holiday Preparation Checklist
We’ve compiled all of this information into a step-by-step checklist to support your holiday preparations.
Download the checklist here. Print it out and check off each item as you complete the preparation process.
Finally, remember to reach out to your NDIS Recovery Coach for additional support this month. We’re here to assist in your preparations and support you in creating a safe, streamlined and enjoyable break.