17 Dec 2020 Holidays, COVID Edition
The winter holidays are typically stressful. Throw in Covid-19 and many of us are wondering what the holidays will look like this year. We might find ourselves having difficulty explaining to our children why we can’t see family, travel, or why we have to forgo our cherished holiday traditions.
So, what can we do to celebrate, even if it’s not in the way we’re used to? And, how can we avoid the holiday blues and the anxiety, loneliness and depression that are heightened due to the pandemic?
Below are a few suggestions on what to do this holiday season and how you can manage your emotions during this difficult time.
Validate Your Emotions
This year, we are all fatigued and worried, making the holidays feel more taxing. Recognizing and managing our emotions will be an important task this season. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings, as they are valid and real.
You are not alone in feeling disappointed. Everyone’s life has been disrupted in some way, so give yourself permission to take it easy this year. Try to focus on staying healthy and safe.
Focus On What You Can Do
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on the rituals you can continue. Think about the holiday traditions that are most meaningful to you and try to continue them with your family.
That may mean having a family meal over FaceTime and everyone preparing the same symbolic foods you would typically eat on that holiday. Or, if you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa and are accustomed to lighting a menorah or kinara, schedule time with your loved ones to light candles together on Zoom.
Simplify Your Expectations
Try to let go of your assumptions and the stigma associated with being alone during the holidays. There might even be some relief knowing you don’t have to attend any of those large family gatherings or argue with your sister-in-law about who makes which recipes.
Have open conversations with your family about how the holidays may feel different. Talk to your children and encourage them to express their feelings and understanding of why things have to be different this year.
Create New Traditions
Think of this unique time as an opportunity to start new traditions! Think about the activities you enjoy doing and make it a special activity for the day, like going on a hike outdoors.
Put together care packages for friends and family filled with small gifts and your favorite holiday treats. Look for volunteer opportunities to give back in your local community. You might start a new craft such as decorating your own ornaments.
Authored by: Ilana Sancha, LMSW