The first sip of a pumpkin spice latte, the sweet smell of freshly baked apple pie, cozy knit sweaters and the beautiful burnt orange and bright red colours of the changing fall leaves. These are all parts of what makes fall such a great time of the year. Do you know what else makes this time of year great? The major holidays. First, there’s Thanksgiving and then Halloween, followed by the most festive of all the holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwaanza, or other traditional celebrations that help mark the end of a year and a time for family, food, giving, and good cheer before we ring in the New Year.
Despite the chaos and uncertainty that’s marked our ‘new normal’ the holidays remain the few dedicated times of the year when people get to take time off work, kids have time off from school, and many of us find ourselves in a celebratory mood for weeks leading up to each holiday. It’s usually an opportunity, and excuse depending on how you look at it, to have a good time with family and friends, overindulge in delicious food and drink, and probably spend way too much money.
But the year is 2020 and it’s a year like no other. With the coronavirus pandemic still looming over the world, there is more stress and perhaps less cheer and more feelings of gloom than merry and bright.
There are so many questions about the holidays weighing heavily on my mind and the minds of many of my family and friends lately. Is it safe to go trick or treating? What about the Christmas get-together, how’s that going to work this year? Should we start buying and mailing gifts now? Is it worth the risk of going to mom and dad’s or visiting grandpa? It’s a new, ever-changing and uncharted territory that we’re all trying to navigate the best way we can but it’s tough. Seriously, COVID19 will officially be dubbed the real Grinch that stole all the holidays in 2020.
I know that any decisions we make on how we choose to mark holidays will be impacted by any COVID19 guidelines and restrictions that are in place in our communities at the time. There are, however, things we can do to help manage the stress and overwhelm that can come with trying to navigate the holidays in the time of COVID19.
Here are five tips I’m adopting to help me get through the next few months and I hope will help you get ready for the upcoming holidays during COVID19.
5 Tips to Help You Get Ready for the Holidays During Covid19
#1 Make the time to practice gratitude daily
The holidays can be a busy time for many of us. But it can also be a time for us to reflect more deeply on the things for which we are most grateful. With so much sadness and fear still very much a part of our everyday lives, taking the time to identify the things that you are thankful for, all the things that are important to you, can make a difference in how you tackle the upcoming holiday season during COVID-19.
#2. Remember to check-in with yourself on how you’re feeling
Holiday stress is common and paired with the anxiety, loneliness, sadness, fear and other emotions in this current climate, it can all be overwhelming. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to be not be okay. Acknowledge these feelings as valid. Give yourself some grace and then, find a way to let it go and focus on the present moment.
#3. Accept that the holiday season may be very different this year
Planning that perfect holiday gathering or finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list may have been something you were looking forward to this time last year. Then the world changed. Now everything is different. You might be feeling that your idea of the perfect holiday is at risk of being ruined.
If we can accept that change is constant, then we might be able to free ourselves of the idea of what a perfect holiday ‘should be’. When we let go of expectations and accept what is, we can create the space we need to have a different yet still meaningful and memorable holiday experience.
#4. Have conversations with your family early
Talk to your family about your plans for the holiday. Together you can discuss how different things because of Covid19 and how you can, as a family, make the most out of a difficult situation.
#5. Show kindness and compassion
The holidays can be difficult for people in the best of times and the thought of having to celebrate the holidays alone, over Zoom, or not at all may result in strong emotions. Be kind and show compassion to others. We don’t know what they are going through and, everyone suffers in their way.
Cancelled celebrations and socially distanced small gatherings have become the new normal. However, due to the rapidly changing nature of coronavirus transmission, the rules and guidelines are also constantly changing. It’s important to keep this in mind as you try to ‘plan’ ahead.
Be sure to check with your public health officials and official government websites to get the most up-to-date information and find expert guidance on steps you can take to experience the upcoming holidays safely.
This post first appeared on The Swell Life Blog – Swell Made Co.