Experience tells any FIFO worker that spending Christmas away from loved ones is challenging. The geographical gap between the worksite and home becomes more pronounced during the holiday season, particularly when there are young children involved.
Nevertheless, the show in the mining industry must go on. Preparing for the emotional hurdles of the festive season can help alleviate the sense of distance and preserve your well-being. Whether it’s your inaugural or twentieth FIFO Christmas, strategise to make it a positive experience with the following steps.
Just because you won’t be physically present doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the festivities. Plan and purchase gifts in advance. These presents will serve as a connection to your family and friends on Christmas morning, especially if accompanied by a special, thoughtful message.
Plan for a Second Celebration
Before departing, schedule a second Christmas celebration for your return – the FIFO Festivities. This alternate celebration can become a unique family tradition and gives everyone something to anticipate.
Pack a special treat, be it food or drink, to make your trip a bit distinct. Have loved ones write you messages, promising not to open them until Christmas Day, perhaps during a ZOOM catch-up. This adds an element of anticipation for both you and them.
Avoid negativity, both externally and internally. Keep your self-talk positive, appreciating what you have – a job and your health. If fellow workers are venting their grievances, distance yourself to maintain a positive mindset.
Embrace Technology, Moderately
Leverage technology to stay connected with your loved ones on Christmas Day. Video calls allow you to witness the joy of opening presents and sharing the moment. However, don’t let constant online updates throughout the day make you feel more isolated. After the initial connections, consider taking a break from digital communication.
While it’s tempting to drown sorrows in alcohol, be mindful of celebratory drinks. Instead, focus on organising on-site festivities or activities like physical exercises or Christmas trivia. This diversion benefits not only you but your colleagues as well.
Remember You’re Not Alone
Remind yourself that you are not alone in this experience. Essential workers worldwide share similar challenges during the holiday season. Keep in mind that Christmas is just one day, and you are part of a broader community facing similar circumstances.
In essence, with thoughtful planning and a positive mindset, a FIFO Christmas can be a bearable and even meaningful experience.