Holidays are associated with happy moments, socializing with family and friends, celebrations, and going on vacations. It is a time to take vacations and visit family. But this 2020 has brought the world new challenges and obstacles which have limited our ability to connect, visit or be with loved ones and share in the holiday spirit. For some people there has been unexpected loss and/or their lives have been turned upside down.
So what do we do?
Even though the holidays might be very different for many people, there are ways we can connect and make memories. We might have to say goodbye to the way things used to be but we can create new ways to share in the spirit of the holidays. We can embrace the present situations we find ourselves in by seeing the upcoming holidays as an opportunity to create new traditions and rituals. We can preserve the spirit of the holidays through new ways of connecting to family, friends, planning happy times and by creating new treasured memories.
We can do this by:
- Coming up with video dates/activities/games to play with family and friends
- Making a loved one’s favorite dessert or participating in an activity they enjoyed
- Lighting a candle and paying tribute to a family or friend, or sharing a silent moment in their honor
- Displaying pictures of family or friends
- Sharing stories about family or friends or happy times, especially the funny ones which can lighten our spirits
With the coronavirus upon us and no idea when it will come to an end, this year’s holidays will not be as usual. All this has brought a different type of stress that has replaced all the hustles associated with holiday seasons and replaced them with uncertainty, isolation, worry and the potential loss of routine and tradition. The joy of holidays comes from socializing with friends and family and merry-making. When we are restricted from doing this, we can feel frustrated, lonely, and sad. Spending holidays alone, disconnected from family and friends, coupled with the possibility of worrying about your loved ones’ health, is reason enough to develop despair. There are things we can do to reduce our vulnerability to the unique stressors we face:
- Reach out to family and friends for support: When overwhelmed with isolation, the best thing is to reach out to loved ones. You can arrange to have a video chat, phone calls, or messaging to keep in touch with people you value. You can even pull out your old stationary or some paper and write a letter!
- Keep a positive approach.: Remind yourself that the situation is just for some time and necessary to keep ourselves safe. Keep in mind that you will not celebrate holidays with loved ones or friends this year for you to be able to be with them next year’s holidays.
- Make Alternative plans: Think of creative ways you and/or your family can safely celebrate the holidays and adjust your traditions, which will make you happy and joyous during the pandemic. If your family has a habit of celebrating holidays indoors, you can introduce hiking, going for walks or bike rides, or leisurely drives as part of your new holiday plans this year.
- Learn a new hobby or practice a new skill: There are tons of apps to teach you new things like chess or checkers or playing an instrument or gardening.
- Practice Gratitude: Send letters of appreciation to colleagues, co-workers, friends (new and old) sharing your sentiments of gratitude for their kindness, or guidance, support or consideration. Focusing on our blessings helps foster positive feelings and reduce our vulnerability to negative ones.
We are so lucky to have the internet, and video-conferencing available to us in this time of the Coronavirus and medical technology and industry is working hard to help find better treatments, vaccines and a cure. Look how much business has already adapted to the challenges we have faced. I hope you will find your own helpful ways to overcome the challenges and obstacles in your way and I am hopeful that we will find many new ways to thrive and support each other in the new year. WIshing you all a happy holiday and Happy New Year. Be well and stay safe.