This is a great time of year to think about the holiday traditions and activities that you have honored so far. What works for you? What doesn’t? It’s okay to reduce or completely stop holiday traditions that don’t work for you. How do you want to spend your time this holiday season? What are some new traditions that resonate with you?
If you’re not feeling into the holiday season this year, we get it! We have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years and life has been tough. Between quarantining, isolating, working from home, cancelled flights, supply chain shortages and inflation, we’ve all collectively been experiencing, it’s safe to say our normative rituals have changed and you may be feeling more like the grinch, than the elf. We hope we can share with you some ideas that will help to bring a little bit of the sparkle back.
This holiday season is the first with loosening COVID restrictions. So, what does that mean to you? Having a clear idea of your expectations and boundaries before the situation comes up could help you decrease your stress levels. It’s important to have a plan in place about how you want to navigate the situation. What are your comfort levels with seeing family and/or friends? Do people attending gatherings have masks and vaccinated? If you feel uncomfortable with COVID precautions in place during family gatherings, here are some suggestions that may include but not limited to:
- Zoom dinner/gatherings
- Facetime visits
- Reduced in person family gatherings
- Teleparty/Netflix Party is a browser extension for your computer that will allow you to watch holiday movies/shows with family and friends from all over the world. Applications for your phone are also available for watch parties and provide the same service
If you won’t be visiting friends or family this holiday season, that’s okay. Acts of service can be meaningful and helpful in boosting your mood. Some ideas to feel a sense of belonging or community can include but not limited to:
- Looking into your preferred religious affiliation to see if there are any events scheduled
- Volunteering at your local non-profit agency such as a food pantry or animal shelter
- Visiting local senior center or community center calendar for events
- Perhaps your housing community has events planned that you can participate in?
- Fostering an animal from the local shelter for the holiday’s
Going back to normal or making up for lost holiday seasons can feel overwhelming. Some ideas that may help you feel less stressed are:
- Making unique decorations for your home using your typical supplies. Don’t forget to decorate for the holidays, even if it’s just you
- Safely meeting with friends or family to see your annual holiday performance or religious ceremony. However, if you can’t, perhaps you can look for a holiday performance or religious service online or on TV and watch it together
It’s important to take care of yourself mentally and physically by staying safe and healthy. Your capacity to sustain appropriate self-care is critical to your overall health. As a result, it’s essential that you eat nutritious, well-balanced meals, stick to a regular sleeping schedule, and exercise whenever possible. Practicing and implementing previously identify coping strategies can help you feel pleasant and reduce stress. Continue to remind yourself of how valuable and significant you are.
Stay safe, be innovative and realize that your best efforts will suffice.