For many, the holiday season was the metaphorical “light at the end of the tunnel” for 2020. Happily, holiday season is officially in full swing; however, it is unfortunately not what was hoped for. The desire to resume some sense of normalcy is strong and the holidays typically signal the start of family traditions and all things jolly and bright. This holiday season is markedly different. So how does one cope with this massively disappointing realization? Below are some helpful ways to safely navigate the novel holiday season at hand.
It is important not underestimate the power of a well-meaning phone call. Sit down this season and generate a list of missed friends and family members. Set aside time to call and enjoy a quality conversation. It will boost your mood and let them know that they matter!
Physical and Virtual Care Packages
Take a moment to virtually send photos or silly video clips that will put a smile on a loved one’s face. Or you can mail or (if able) drop off treats and thoughtful trinkets to help friends or family feel festive and loved. For family who live out of the state, consider sending them their favorite local treat that they can only get from your state [Read: H-E-B Texas chips].
Give Yourself Permission
Give yourself permission to forgo major details and/or ornate decorations if you do not have the energy nor desire to do it. You can also order that holiday meal rather than cook a whole turkey with all the fixings. Opt to keep meals and décor simple in order to focus your full attention and affections on your loved ones.
Create New Traditions
Perhaps it is the time to do away with that old stuffy family custom! This year could be an opportunity to inject some silliness or joyful excitement into family moments. Could you switch out Christmas sweaters for wacky matching pajamas? Maybe your family could try cooking a meal together rather than going out to dinner? Or you and your loved ones could make holiday decorations together.
Enhance Virtual Connections
Consider coordinating a shared experience! This means coordinating efforts with loved ones on the receiving end of your screen when video chatting. You could also try to organize a coordinated movie night and eat popcorn with your brother in California and your sister in Arizona. The Disney+ app has a feature for this! You could also coordinate holiday meals and even the meal prep for those meals so that it feels as if you are not truly missing out on the family bonding. Get creative!
Seek Out COVID-safe Holiday Activities
Find ways to safely socially distance while participating in typically enjoyable holiday activities. It may be worth assessing how safely you are able to resume seasonally routine activities. Many activities may require a small tweak for the safety aspect. For example, if you enjoy volunteering in your local soup kitchen, contact the facility and ask how you may help in a safe way. Perhaps you can help inventory food items in an isolated room rather than serving in a large group. Just ask! And gauge your level of comfort.
Leave Space to Grieve Change
If you or a loved one are struggling with the changes, create space to validate feelings of disappointment or sadness. It is okay to miss seeing extended family or to be angry about cancelled trips. Do your best to acknowledge and then redirect those energies into calming and comforting activities like going for a walk, deep breathing exercises, or an expressive art activity. Overall, allow yourself to feel your feelings and incorporate self-care.