We already know how the holidays are fraught with possibilities for depression. And this year, on top of everything else, we have a pandemic to deal with—fear of getting the virus, quarantining in place, family members who don’t agree with your take on how to handle gatherings. It all adds up to stress.
In the movie, Home Alone, creativity and a can-do spirit are a big help to Kevin who’s been left home alone during the holidays. Like Kevin, if you can’t be with family or friends, you can find ways to cope. Talk with your loved ones about virtual events. Maybe you can have an ugly sweater party. Maybe you can cook something special and share the recipe so they can make it too. Maybe you can toast together or say a prayer together online. Find a way to connect virtually and have fun.
Find Inner Strength
Hard as this year has been, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are on the horizon and the promise of better holidays ahead gives us hope. For now, though, celebrate your inner strength and discipline in getting through this difficult time. Realize that it won’t last forever and focus on self-care. Light some festive candles and enjoy some bubbly, whether it’s sparkling wine or a bubble bath, or both. The key is to look at your situation from a different perspective. You now have the time and luxury to enjoy your own company without tradition dictating what you do.
If You Are Gathering
Maybe you have an opportunity to attend a gathering and are wondering how to do so safely. Experts recommend testing 24 to 72 hours before the event. You’ll need to get your results back before you attend and keep your exposure to an absolute minimum during that time. Keep the gathering outside with fresh airflow that reduces risk. Make sure you’re well versed on the current social distancing guidelines and wear a mask. If possible, wear face shields or eye goggles, which may also help keep you and others protected.
Stay at Home
If you are unable or unwilling to take all the safety precautions, perhaps it’s best to stay at home this year. Consider the folks around you that could be at risk. Are they elderly? Are they immunocompromised? Are you at risk? Are you uncomfortable with others’ lax social distancing or disregard for best practices? If you have to turn down an invitation to a gathering, be honest about how you feel. You can convey your concerns kindly while still maintaining your relationship.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact