Managing COVID During the Holidays

For many of us, the holiday time is about feeling good and being together. This year is very different from our past experiences. We may be in low spirits and may not be able to see family this year. We haven’t done this before – we have not experienced the holiday season during a pandemic. But this holiday season is a time for new traditions and finding creative ways to celebrate. We have been adjusting all year – getting creative, working from home, and collaborating with people all virtually.

We are faced with a new challenge this year. How do we manage this holiday season? 

1.  We are allowed to grieve the type of holiday we wish we could have.

We don’t have to pretend that will be our best holiday yet. We know that we want it to be different. Many are separated from loved ones, some lost family and friends, and we desperately wish things were different. We are allowed to feel sorrow. This is a time to reminisce on the good times, and start to be grateful for the experiences you’ve had together. 

2.  Write and/or discuss what you are grateful for during this holiday season.

After spending time validating the grief of this holiday season, it is important to remind yourself of what you are grateful for, too. Sure, we don’t have the usual big family gatherings or holiday vacations. But we have each other. We have the ability to see our loved ones over FaceTime or Zoom, and connect in new and creative ways. Make a list of what you are grateful for this holiday season.

3.  Spend some virtual time with loved ones.

We have adapted to a new normal which is extending into the holidays. Zoom calls with pets and kids in the background, happy hours and thanksgiving meals over FaceTime, and birthday parties with all our friends, on Zoom. This is a great time to reconnect with loved ones over the holidays – people who you don’t see typically, because now everyone is long distance. Playing games, sharing stories, and catching up with our loved ones, even virtually, makes this time feel like holiday time. Even if we are distanced. 

4.  Reflect on how you are able to make this holiday about your needs, your wants, and your growth. 

The holiday season typically comes with family expectations. Maybe having to act, dress, or be a certain way, having to set and maintain boundaries with family members, and having to prepare to transfer your coping skills from the life and dynamic you created as an adult, to the dynamic that exists within your family. This can be very difficult to do. This year however, the pressure is off. You may still get asked the pestering questions over FaceTime, but you get to be in your own space and mediate these dynamics how you see fit. It’s more than okay to make the holidays about you this year, and not everyone else.

This holiday season will definitely be different from what we are used to, but using some of these tips can help you find ways to make the best out of it.

If you’d like to learn more about the tools available to manage these challenging times, please feel free to email me at mollie@chaminajjan.com or  contact me at Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy.