According to psychologist Miguel Gárriz, this Christmas will have a “strong emotional impact” on many people

The clinical psychologist at the Support University Psychology and Psychiatry Clinic believes that the holidays will be especially hard for people who have not been able to say goodbye to a loved one because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loneliness and isolation that many elderly people are facing can also have adverse effects on their emotional health and even affect their physical health

According to Miguel Gárriz, this Christmas will have a “strong emotional impact” on many people. “The combination of a pandemic and economic difficulties around Christmas time can have a particularly strong impact on mental health”, he explains. “Based on what we have learned from previous economic crises, economic adversity can lead to numerous and sometimes serious emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety and an uptick in suicides”.

Another group that may find Christmas difficult is the elderly who will remain in nursing homes and will not be able to join their loved ones. Gárriz points out how “previous studies have shown that loneliness affects not only emotional health, but also life expectancy, and therefore isolating our elderly family members could have significant adverse effects”. To make the circumstances more bearable, he recommended “that it should be made easier for them to connect with their loved ones using technology or by facilitating visits that are compatible with safety measures. Also, activities and celebrations among residents should be encouraged”.

Christmas can also be difficult for people who have lost a loved one. As a consequence, “there may be pushback against alleviating the measures in place at the moment, as people are more aware of the high cost that excessive alleviation will have for many families, due to personal experience”, explains Gárriz.

In order to avoid an overbearing sense of sadness at this time of year, unable to bring the whole family together or having to spend Christmas alone, Miguel Gárriz recommends that we look at the situation from another angle and focus on how our efforts will contribute to reducing the impact of the third wave, save lives, and reduce the impact on our economy.