The Holiday Season with a sprinkle of COVID-19
By: Madeleine Foley, M.A.
The holidays are typically a time to get together with friends and family in celebration. It’s a time best spent with loved ones. After all, what would Santa do without the help of his loyal reindeers?! In typical 2020 fashion, the holidays are going to look a bit different this year with COVID-19 upon us. Even without the pandemic, holidays can be a stressful time for us, from tense family dynamics to answering intrusive personal questions from relatives. The familiar stressors that the holidays bring are meeting the novel stressors that this pandemic has brought us. So, it is important to engage in activities this holiday season that bring us joy and give us a sense of connectedness with others. We are all trying to decipher which holiday traditions can be continued this season and which traditions we can save for next year. Regardless of what your family traditions are, we are all left wondering how to get through the 2020 holidays with as much joy and normalcy as possible. Here are a few ways you can celebrate the holiday season while keeping you and your loved ones safe (and socially distant!).
Create time for mental health
Before discussing ways to improve our holidays, it is important for us to check in with ourselves this season. We may need to adjust our expectations of what the holidays will be like this year, and that is okay. Although this will feel different from past years, find the silver linings in each situation. Also, remember to be kind to yourself during this time. None of us have been through the holiday season in the pandemic, so allow yourself to acknowledge this and allocate more time into checking in with yourself.
Schedule video chat sessions with loved ones
Maintain a sense of connectedness with your family and friends, even if you aren’t able to celebrate the holidays with them in person. There are multiple popular platforms that allow for large groups. Set up a virtual holiday party and get creative!
Make your surroundings as merry as possible
Since we spend so much time at home, why not put some extra effort into your holiday decorations? Whether it is a new ornament or a couple more holiday-scented candles, make your home a merry space to celebrate the holidays.
Eat and be merry!
Just because you are not cooking for the usual big holiday crowd does not mean you can’t put more love into your cooking this season. Bake those cookies, roast that ham, and make a toast to the new year. Just because we are changing the ways that we celebrate the season does not mean we cannot celebrate at all.
Start new traditions
2020 has brought a lot of change, both positive and negative. While we can’t control our ability to be with loved ones this season, but we can make new traditions that can last for years to come.