Tis the Season to be jolly…

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The snow is falling and folk are building snowpeople on the M25!? Those that celebrate Christmas are busy buying presents and making plans. In care homes across the country, nativities are being shown, and singers are sharing their voices for others to hear. In homes where carers visit, activities are going on and talk of Christmas wishes are in the air.

Working in Social care during the Christmas season is both fun and at times frustrating. Sad and joyful in equal measure. A time when faces are seen, and a time when hope doesn’t manage to bring faces that haven’t been seen in a while. Tears are shed and laughter rings out.

So, It’s that time of the year when it’s even more important to bring your whole self to work! A time to be able to dance like no one is watching. A time to laugh like never before and a time of hope that brings with it renewed energy for the following year to come.

Don’t you think it’s a funny thing to say ‘bring your whole self to work’ Yup! I first heard of the concept several years ago when watching a video that had been put on social media of an air steward doing a safety demonstration pre-take-off, ensuring that it was done with his whole self.

He was able to take a routine, serious topic and turn it into one where he had everyone’s attention and they paid attention. They absorbed the information and retained it.

He was him. Lively, bright, and caring. Caring because it was important to him that on his flight, the passengers had the correct information that they needed to help ensure their safety in the event of an emergency.

So, let’s take this concept and pop it into social care. Christmas can be a very lonely time for some. Families live a long distance away and just can’t visit, and anniversaries of loved ones passed are highlighted. A space at the table so to speak. Many will be lonely and strangely Christmas has a way of highlighting that.

That’s where the fabulous people that work in social care come in and that’s why it’s so important to bring your whole self during the festive period. Folk need that sparkle in their day, the warmth of love in their bones, and the amusement to lift their spirits.

So, how to do this one asks? Now I’m not saying you have to take up a degree in performing arts or sign up for the Darren Brown stage show school of magic and mystery.

Just be yourself and allow yourself to be you.

Allow yourself to joke and laugh without fear of judgment. Allow yourself to dance and sing even if you have to envision yourself on Strictly or the X factor! Where something that will make another smile, something that will create a conversation.

Think differently when it comes to activities and it’s never too late to start. Make homemade Christmas cards, crackers, and Gingerbread houses. Ensure that those who wish to attend church have the opportunity to take part in a church service. Pop on the Kinds speech even if it’s not your thing.

Think of days of advent and doing something different every day, even having a home advent calendar where you can all share.

Allow your emotions and don’t push them away and down. If you have the need to cry or laugh, then do. Acknowledge those that are no longer here. Acknowledge that space at the table. Allow the memories, the good, and the not-so-good.

If you want to make a nativity or write a Christmas story where you all play a role, do it!

Get white paper, scissors, and sticky tape, and with the help of those you care for, cut out snowflakes.

If the snow falls play in it. Collect a bowl and let folk have that wonderful feeling of the soft icy crystals falling through their fingers. Look at the pictures left on the windows by Jack Frost and draw your own.

It really doesn’t matter the type of activities you do or events that you hold. The key is having fun. The key is spreading joy and the outcome is smiles.

Even though Christmas can be hard, we can make it easier, easier for all. Brighter and more colourful both literally and metaphorically, just by being you, fabulously you!