The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year to relax, spend time with friends and family, and look forward to the year ahead. However, for people with disability and their carers, the Christmas period can bring with it its own challenges.

What kind of challenges will people with disability face during the holiday season?

The holiday seasons can be an overwhelming and stressful time for people with disability and those that take care of them. Some challenges that must be acknowledged are:

Feeling more isolated

With businesses closing and not having regular appointments with their specialists, people with disability can feel more isolated during this time. You may have family or friends heading away for the holidays season that you would usually rely upon to be there, which may lead to you feeling some negative emotions. This Christmas may also look a little different for you if you are socially distancing or unable to see friends and family face-to-face.

Changes in schedule

You may be going away yourself or lose hours and income over the Christmas period, or your job may require you to work extra hours. Either way, changes in your regular schedule can lead to heightened anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.

Travel planning

For carers or individuals with a disability, especially those with a physical disability, booking accommodation and making travel arrangements can be incredibly stressful.

What are some strategies to help clients manage this period?

Keep in touch with friends and family

To manage feelings of isolation over the Christmas period, make regular plans with friends and family that you can look forward to. This could include going for a walk or doing a festive activity with a friend. A reminder to be COVID safe and mindful of social distancing during this period, especially for those planning to see friends and family. If you are unable to see friends and family face-to-face over this period, there are plenty of other ways to stay in touch. Organise regular phone calls, video chats or even plan some virtual activities. The important aspect is engaging with people during this period.

Respect your limits

While it’s important to stay in touch with friends and family, you also need to listen to your body and know your limits. Parties and social gatherings, although enjoyable, can fill one’s calendar quickly and lead to feeling overwhelmed. Plan your schedule in advance and be sure to include time for you to rest and relax.

Plan ahead

When organising transport, it’s important to take into consideration the accessibility requirements needed for the person with a disability and to prebook modes of transportation such as taxis. If you use an electric wheelchair, you know there’s nothing worse than running low or running out of power. Making sure your chair is charged is one less thing to worry about when you’re trying to enjoy your time over the break. Planning ahead will put your mind at ease and leave more time to enjoy yourself and participate in the Christmas festivities.

Practice healthy habits

Create a routine that incorporates healthy habits such as regular exercise, eating well and getting enough sleep. Getting fresh air and communicating with those around you are also some great techniques to keep your spirits high over the holiday period.

Advice for Jobseekers

If you are looking for work, set routines for yourself so you know you are covering off on all daily activities to better your chances at obtaining work. Set time frames to check websites, cold call and or go canvasing but be selective in your employers and choose the right times to make contact. Remember, it is a holiday period and employers are spending time with their friends and family too, so take time for yourself and do the same.

What are some strategies to help carers manage this period?

Take care of yourself

The holidays can often mean taking care of others and making sure they are enjoying themselves. Don’t forget; you can’t fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty. Set a positive example for others about the importance of taking care of yourself during busy and stressful times. Eat well, exercise regularly and create a good sleep routine so that you have the energy and resources to extend yourself for others.

AimBig Employment would like to wish all our clients and their families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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