7 Tips for Dealing with the Holidays During the Pandemic

There’s no doubt about it. The COVID-19 pandemic has really been a challenge to deal with. Although there is a vaccine on the horizon, most of us are just really tired of having to deal with COVID altogether. The social distancing, the masks, the wiping everything down… it’s all just very exhausting. And now we’re heading into the holidays, which comes with expectations as well as just a desire to be around those we love. 

Although it’s not easy, we can all get through this rough holiday season. Here are some things that I hope will help you making through this time of year.

  1. Validate your feelings. We’re often taught that the best way to deal with feelings is to get rid of them. Unfortunately, there is no real way to get rid of them. So when we do this, we really just tuck them away, which allows them to build up. Instead, be aware of them and remind yourself that most of them are understandable. Anger, sadness, and anxiety are all normal feelings during situations like this. 
  2. Set boundaries. The holidays always come with pressure. This year will be no different. There is going to be that sense of having to celebrate in the traditional way. I’m not telling you what you need to do for your holiday. Instead, decide for yourself what feels safe and what feels OK. Don’t push others to do things they aren’t comfortable with and if you feel pressured, remind yourself that you get to establish lines to protect yourself as much as possible. 
  3. Find something creative. It doesn’t have to be anything remarkable, but embracing creativity is a wonderful way of dealing with vulnerable feelings. Tinker around with an instrument. Paint or draw. Write something in a creative way. Whatever you decide to do, try not to judge it. Just enjoy the creative process for what it is. 
  4. Counter difficult emotions with laughter. Humor really can do wonders for us all in a time like this. What typically can get you laughing? Use those resources! If they’re friends, reach out to them so they can make you laugh. Whatever it is, this is the time to remember that this resource is there for us and we need it now.
  5. Build life dreams. This can also be a time of reflection. Things aren’t always going to be this way. They won’t always have to be this isolating. What do you want your life to look like in the future? How will you get there?
  6. Practice gratitude. Sometimes it’s as simple as this. Reminding ourselves what we still have. This doesn’t erase that we’re going through a hard time. That isn’t the goal either. Instead, it’s just a good way to balance the difficult with the good. 
  7. Recognize vulnerability for what it is. Many of the difficult feelings you’re having are you going through a challenging and uncertain time. When we feel out of control, we often try to regain control. There’s only so much that we can be in control over in this situation. The feelings that go with vulnerability will ebb and flow. Just notice remind yourself that the intensity will change. 

I know that this isn’t a complete list and it doesn’t erase the situation we’re going through. I do hope it gives a little guidance on how to navigate through a very strange holiday season. 

As always, if you’re looking for a therapist to help with times like this, please feel free to contact us. Hang in there.