Celebrating Christmas in a Pandemic: Let's Talk About It
2020 didn’t exactly pan out how most of us thought it would. In fact, I don’t think any of us would have ever guessed that we’d be facing this Christmas in a pandemic.
Easter, Thanksgiving, and other holidays flew by and looked very different this year for many of us. Yet, this doesn’t mean there isn’t cause to celebrate as arguably the biggest holiday of the year approaches.
First off, you’ve definitely built a ton of mental resilience this year. And you’re going to have to dig deep here because this last month will require a bit more.
It’s time to embrace the holidays during the pandemic - no matter what they might look like. It’s time to really dive deep into those feelings of gratitude and form thoughts around appreciation for what you do have. I know it’s not easy. It takes a bit of work. But you can do this.
And remember, it’s totally okay not to feel okay right now.
I encourage you to remember that everything is temporary and that, yes, celebrations will look different this year, but it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate at all. A holiday pandemic isn’t ideal. Yet, you can still have a meaningful Christmas.
How to Celebrate Christmas in a Pandemic
1. Prioritize Connection
While you might not be able to see each family member, make sure you take the time to connect with them - in whatever way you can. Call your grandparents and connect with them for an hour. Be present in those conversations.
Do a group video chat with the entire family and show off your own Christmas cooking skills. It’s almost like you’re all in the same kitchen.
Find meaning in reaching out to others. COVID has undeniably impacted many of our loved ones’ mental health (and our own).
In fact, it really is undeniable.
Research shows social connection impacts our physical and mental health in various ways. We need it. So, it’s important to seek it out, even if that means through virtual pathways.
Connection and talking about it can nurture these relationships and help improve everyone’s mental health state.
2. Start a New Holiday Tradition
With some of the usual aspects of the holidays missing, there’s never been a better time than right now to start a new annual holiday tradition.
Maybe you can begin a tradition of making Christmas cookies and then freezing them for the year to come. Perhaps you can begin a Christmas tree and decorating tradition with your immediate household or family - something maybe you’ve wanted to do for quite some time. One activity that might sound fun is using an app called Netflix Party to watch your favorite holiday movies with your loved ones – remotely.
Find ways to make this holiday special, and then carry that through to other holidays to come.
3. Indulge in Some Self-Care
Self-care gives you time to recharge and take care of your number one - you.
We often give so much to others that we forget to look after ourselves to the best of our ability during the holiday season. We all do it; it happens.
I know that it seems like we’ve got a ton of self-care this year already. But take advantage of this time. Society is always “go-go-go” that we often forget to take time to slow down and relax.
So, throw on a guided meditation and run that bubble bath. Or take a virtual yin yoga class. Or simply throw on your favorite tunes and work away at that new puzzle or piece of art. It’s okay to take this time to recharge and just be with yourself.
We don’t tend to do it often enough, and if you’re at home with a lot of time on your hands this Christmas, this is the perfect year to do so.
Make sure to read: 7 Reasons Why Self-Care is Essential for Your Mental Health
4. Focus on “Less is More”
Focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t.
Make a list. What’s usually important to you when the holidays roll around? Write it down. Now, figure out a way to make these items still happen but in a new and creative way.
For instance, if you love spending time with the entire family at the dinner table, invite everyone to a virtual table for Christmas dinner. If you love watching that same Christmas movie each year with your siblings, watch it together over video chat.
A social distancing Christmas doesn’t mean you have to forego your favorite parts of the holidays. What it really means is that it’ll just look a little different this year as we all do our part to bring our world back to “normal.”
Embrace the Holidays During the Pandemic
It’s not easy, but we are all in this together.
Know you aren’t alone in feeling alone or feeling not like yourself. It’s okay. With everything happening worldwide, there’s a good reason to feel not 100% - or even close.
If a loved one is also struggling, reach out to them. Be there for one another. Offer your support. Knowing someone else cares can make the biggest difference this holiday season.
Related article: Here Are the Best Ways to Support a Loved One With Depression