This holiday season is different for us on so many levels. Each family is handling this pandemic differently, but it seems that most everyone I talk to has changes to their 2020 holiday season. In this blog, we’ll introduce 5 tips to get through the 2020 holidays.
A good friend of mine is a nurse in California treating COVID patients and cannot come home to be with her family this year. Another dear friend is at home quarantining with her family and cannot spend Christmas with anyone, other than the people who live in her home.
Another friend is spending her first Christmas without her father, who passed away of COVID-19 in April of this year. Just this morning, I was on an early morning walk, and I passed my sweet neighbor who I pass on walks frequently. She is older, and I imagine she has children around my age or a little older. She asked me if my children were excited about Christmas. After telling her that their energy level was, in fact, through the roof, I asked if she would be able to see any family this Christmas. She sadly replied that she would only see them on Zoom this year and would spend the day at home with her husband.
This conversation made me sad, and the reality that so many Americans will spend the holidays alone this year, left a lump in my throat.
So, how do we cope with Christmas and New Year’s this year? How do we get through this holiday season that is different and perhaps very lonely and sad? Here are a few tips to help make your next week a bit easier to get through:
5 Tips to get through the 2020 holidays:
Acceptance is the first step in moving forward. It is very easy to dwell on the fact that we wish things were different this Christmas. We wish our family was getting together, or we wish that COVID-19 would just disappear. The truth is, our circumstances are hard right now, and we cannot change that.
The quicker we accept the fact that our reality this holiday season is different, and perhaps even disappointing, the quicker we can move forward in a healthy emotional state and make positive steps in the right direction.
Don’t Play the “What If” Game
Our minds often go to the worst case scenarios. Perhaps your mind is already jumping ahead to all of the other holidays that are going to to be just like this one, and you are working yourself up into a ball of anxiety. The truth is, none of us knows what the future will hold. Maybe we have more holidays to spend like this, but maybe we won’t.
We cannot control what may or may not happen, so do not let your mind engage in the “What If” game. We spend a lot of mental energy worrying about the “What Ifs,” when most of the time these “What Ifs” rarely come to pass. So, if you are already thinking ahead that you are going to spend many more holidays alone, and worrying about all of the “What Ifs,” bring your mind back to the present, and focus on the here and now and making the most of this year’s holiday season as best you can.
Start a New Tradition
Since this holiday season is already going to be different, you might as well embrace it. Come up with a new tradition for you and your friends or family to start this year. Maybe your family plays a new game on Christmas Day, or makes up a song together. You and your kids could spend time decorating cards and deliver them to a local nursing home on Christmas Day.
If you live alone, maybe you can make a new dish and deliver portions to your neighbors. Brainstorm ideas with your family and try to come up with a new tradition that will make this year special, fun, and memorable.
Try a New Well-Being Activity
Well-being activities are activities that boost your mood. This could be taking a quick walk, or it could be something like knitting, working a puzzle, or coloring. Engaging in a calming activity that you enjoy, will bring you some stillness and hopefully be something to boost your mood.
If you know that you are going to be alone on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, plan ahead to try a new well-being activity. Maybe buy a new puzzle ahead of time, or watch a you-tube video on how to knit and give it a whirl with your daughter. This could be a fun way to pass some of the time if you are alone during the holidays.
If you or your family is planning to be alone this holiday season, stay connected to your support system. Zoom with your family and friends. I even heard of one group of moms who each made a goody bag for the other moms in their group and delivered the bags to their porches. Then, they all met on zoom at a certain time, and opened the bags together and enjoyed homemade treats and wine, all while having great conversations over Zoom.
If you can’t be in person with the ones you care about, be creative in staying connected! We need each other!
If you are still struggling this holiday season, or after the holidays, please reach out to us at Waters Edge Counseling. Our team of therapists are here and ready to help you! Give us a call at 912-319-5552 or schedule online today. Happy Holidays from our Waters Edge Counseling family to yours.