We are well into the holiday season, a time when most are making lists, checking them twice, and booking travel to visit our nearest and dearest. Unfortunately the pandemic filled year of 2020 has other plans, which involves hunkering down for another unforeseeable number of months. This also means more likely spending Christmas and New Year’s far from those we love. Many will forego traditional activities as they may seem meaningless with all that is going on in the world. I am here to tell you that despite all the stress brought on by the harrowing times the holidays are still a time to be enjoyed and to create new traditions.
Keep The Lines of Communication Open
We may miss out on holiday hugs but the smiles, laughter, and toasts can still be shared. Plan a Holiday zoom dinner and prop those electronic devices at the head of the table. Use face time or another video call app to get help while you check off your online shopping list or while decorating every corner of your home. Call, text, or email every person you would typically see this time of year. And on those gloomy, cold days, call someone you can always count on for a good laugh or who has always had a reliable ear. Even when we are faced with loneliness, no one is truly ever alone. No family or friends, hop on to your favorite social media app and engage with your favorite pages. However you decide to communicate just keep those lines open and you will never be alone.
Keep Traditions Alive
Make a list of all the holiday activities you have done in the past. Pick some of your favorites and look online for alternative ideas when necessary. Some of my favorites that are still pandemic friendly, include heading to a tree farm, decorating every room in the house, cooking and baking holiday favorites, and re-watching Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas movies. Find ways to keep doing ones that are safe and are sure to bring a smile to your face. And with technology these are still activities that can be shared with others.
Create New Traditions
My new favorite holiday tradition is attending a drive-thru holiday light show. Many large spaces have been transformed into story book scenes portrayed in bright, colorful, twinkling lights. I recently took a drive through the PNC Arts Center Holiday Light Show and as I listened to Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas” I was taken back to my favorite childhood holiday memories. Finding new ways to celebrate and rediscover the fun this time of year is especially important for the children in our lives. Everyone’s life has been put on hold and that includes the younger generation. Although they are as tech savy as they come, they are still missing out on their typical social interactions. They need a distraction as much as anyone else.
Find A Way To Help Others
Nothing is more gratifying and beneficial when trying not to think about personal problems than helping someone else. Many local organizations are limited on volunteers despite finding socially distant ways to keep running and providing much needed resources. Some food pantries are working outside or providing a delivery services to ensure no one misses out on a good holiday meal. All it takes is a google search and an openness for an adventure to ease an ailing heart.
Out of all the suggestions shared in this post I want to emphasize keeping the lines of communication open. Too many lives have ended far too soon due to depression, anxiety and various mental illnesses exasperated or going untreated during the pandemic. Please remember that even on your loneliest days you are not alone. Reach out to anyone or everyone.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24 Hour well trained ears ready and wanting to listen: 800-273-8255
I am grateful for technology and its ability keep those far away a little closer, having a voice and an outlet to be heard, holiday music, the ability to work from home, and for new and scary opportunities. What are you grateful for?
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