Post-Pandemic Cheer: How Happier Holidays Can Happen This Year
The holidays are here again. Yet, depending on how you’re handling the stresses of our tumultuous year, you may be struggling to celebrate in safe and satisfying ways.
Unfortunately, even talking to family and friends about your upcoming plans can feel like a landmine. This year has been full of pandemic problems, politics and a cascade of emotional pain. It’s enough to make you wonder whether it might be best to simply to put the year to bed early.
Wait. Don’t surrender the season yet! Perhaps the better course of action now is to shift your thinking about the holidays.
Reconsider giving up on a season geared toward the goodwill and charitable spirit that we’ve been longing for all year. Instead, face the stressors that make you anxious. Then, you may be surprised at how much better you can seek out silver linings and find some seasonal cheer.
Face Your Holiday Anxiety and Choose to Find Joy Anyway
So, what’s bothering you or stressing you out?
It’s healthy to acknowledge and accept things for what they are. Doing so frees you from unrealistic expectations, inauthentic interaction, and internal pressure. To enjoy more peace of mind means processing worries an look for the opportunities they present.
Does a lack of togetherness make you feel low?
Not being able to see your extended family may be wearing on you after such a long year of social distancing. It’s important to work through the issues and reasoning behind remaining apart. Consider the possible consequences of coming together. Your thoughts and feelings can drive anxiety if you let them take over.
Admit to yourself that spending the season apart is painful. Share with your family how much you love and miss them. Then, allow a period of grief. You don’t have to be dishonest with yourself. The loss is real.
What’s the silver lining? The beauty of family and friendship is that the memories made together sustain and inspire us when we’re apart. Even if you are celebrating away from each other, try to celebrate with intention. In the past, you may have felt too hurried and rushed to really revel in traditions, crafting, decorating, etc.
Now is the time to dig through all the photos and share them during regular Zoom calls. Or sing carols over the phone. You could even use the post office by sending multiple holidays cards, baked goods, and trinkets via snail mail. Choose to connect often to continue memory-making and boosting joy in small purposeful ways.
Do pandemic problems fuel uncertainty and upset?
You are not alone if you are worried about where the pandemic is going and how or when it will be resolved. We’ve all been asked to make huge adjustments to our thinking and way of life. Uncertainty, especially long-term uncertainty, takes a toll. It is natural to be saddened, angry, or even exhausted by the lack of control you feel.
It’s important to notice and acknowledge the impact of the pandemic’s perpetual nature. Accepting that you can’t take control of a worldwide crisis with denial, travel, large gatherings, etc. is possible, though you may need time with a therapist to help you work through your concerns about the year(s) ahead.
What’s the Silver Lining? You may find that you are grounded and supported by tradition right now.
While you may not be able to participate in large gatherings there may be many other things to do that keep the merriment and comfort of past years alive. Try to de-stress with cozy decorations that bring alive the season for you. If you have children, involve them in traditions too. Choose those that engage all of your senses. This can help you yours stay mindful and present while connecting with the past. Thus, the pandemic may not seem like it is in control of so much.
Is your occupational and financial insecurity creating conflict?
Many people are suffering the fear of not having enough right now. Perhaps due to job loss. Or the loss of their savings. Or an ever-shrinking budget.
Thus, the holidays may feel like too much to incorporate to your monetary concerns right now. You aren’t alone if you are experiencing disappointment, guilt, or even panic. You aren’t alone if money trouble is creating tension in your household.
It is important to face this situation with the least amount of isolation and relationship disconnect possible. Push back against unproductive thinking and shame. Share your situation. Reach out to community and loved ones honestly. Remember, this is a global pandemic. Put spending aside this year for the sake of your mental health. You may be met with more understanding than you think.
What’s the Silver Lining? Creativity blooms during times like these! By allowing yourself a break from shopping, you can choose more meaningful gifts. Why not put together a volume of family stories or memories? Consider building a family website to share and record your family’s journey through the pandemic era.
Since sheltering at home, most of us have been clearing spaces to gain a bit more space. Why not use this time to give gifts that no one will ever want to donate to a thrift store? The goal is to give in ways that speak to loved ones’ hearts and minds, as well as your own.
Allow Yourself Some Seasonal Support
‘Tis the season for self-compassion and lovingkindness. This has been a difficult year for most, reach out for gentle guidance and safe exploration of your emotions.
A therapist may prove an invaluable ally right now and into a new year. When you’re ready, please read more about adult counseling and set up a time for a consultation. Your holidays and life in general, have so much potential. Let’s discover it together.