Tips for coping with a holiday reshaped by COVID-19
Rethinking the holidays—and limiting celebrations to those who live in your household—has left many people mourning a loss of tradition and togetherness that often permeates the coming month. But by paying attention to public health recommendations and your thoughts and feelings, you can be empowered to create a new holiday way. Get started with these tips.
Prioritize what matters most. As you think about what you want the holidays to look like this year, one of the easiest ways to find clarity is to stop and ask yourself what's most important to you right now. Once you have an idea, think about how you can safely infuse more of that into the holiday season. Is it spending more time with your kids? Keeping your family safe? Continuing a specific tradition or adapting it to work in 2020?
Be realistic. It's OK to let go of the idea of creating the perfect holiday. Instead of focusing on perfection, think about what's realistic for you and your family—especially considering what you want to prioritize the most. This may require rethinking how you give gifts if funds are tighter this year, or it could involve canceling a trip to see relatives if you're prioritizing limiting the spread of COVID-19. Regardless, you'll likely feel relieved once you've mapped out what a realistic holiday looks like for you and your family.
Plan. Once you know what you want to focus on this holiday season and how you can realistically make it happen, it's time to plan. The holiday season isn't a race, so be sure to create a timeline for getting things done that allows you to pace yourself. Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish your to-do list. Remember to schedule in some downtime for you to focus on your health and well-being, too. As part of the planning process, it can be helpful to think about what holiday situations cause you the most stress. Addressing them in advance may help you feel more prepared and less anxious.
Communicate. No matter what you decide is the best way for your family to celebrate the holidays this year, it's important to be clear about what you are and are not comfortable with. Let your loved ones know your expectations and the intentions behind them. This may mean having difficult conversations with relatives who don't agree with your decision to simplify this season. That's OK. In this case, try to give them grace. Depending on the situation, you also could offer family members who are disappointed that they won't see you some creative ways you can all still connect, such as through video calls.