A wise man once wrote, there’s no place like home for the holidays, but this year, unfortunately that’s not the case. With the CDC recommending that we don’t head home this holiday season, the typically joyous time of year that we could all really use has to be put on pause.
The type of stress and anxiety faced for the holiday 2020 season is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and that means it’s necessary for us to find a new way to cope. First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that this major change to our norm is akin to our brain going through stages of grief. Because of this, it’ll serve more fruitful than ever to maintain your positive, meaningful social relationships, even virtually.
Following are some tips for celebrating Holidays during COVID-19.
- Create a schedule to speak with everyone who is important to you and hold yourself accountable to that schedule. Use a different platform than one you typically use for work – i.e if you’re experience “Zoom fatigue” use an app like FaceTime, Skype or House Party to signal a difference to your brain. Maintaining those important relationships especially during the holidays is key.
- Create an exciting atmosphere unlike your traditional video calls, a scavenger hunt or a game can break up the monotonous feeling.
- Partake in planned and random acts of kindness, whether it be for your loved ones or a stranger. Being thoughtful about other people will thereby improve your own mental health.
- Make formal plans like a vacation or shared activity you both love (i.e. a Broadway show, spa weekend or cooking course) with your loved ones for when you are able to see each other safely again to give everyone something to look forward to.
If you are feeling pressured to come home for the holidays and are anxious about it, you’re not alone. The best way to approach this is by letting your firm boundaries be known in advance. In “typical” times, people would likely act in accordance with the most anxious person in the group, but being that are brains are on stress overdrive, it’s difficult for some to have that same level of compassion. Being open, honest and transparent with your loved ones before you go and see if you can strike a balance. If not, opt out.
Source: Dr. Tara Swart, MD, PhD author of bestseller, “The Source,”