The holidays haven’t been the same since the pandemic began. Covid-19 has taken a toll on all our lives across the globe. We’ve gone through lockdowns, sickness, the loss of friends and family, financial hardships, and more. While many people focus on the economic and physical health complications from the coronavirus, we must not downplay or ignore the mental toll it has taken.
Many individuals and families alike have experienced an increase in stress and anxiety due to the pandemic. Not only that, they are changing the way they approach their lives, how they spend their time and their money, and they are becoming more conscious of their physical and mental health. Two years after the pandemic, we are still trying to find our way back to a sense of balance with our new normal.
It seems like a lot more reflection is taking place now, and I think this is good. If you have plans for the upcoming holidays, you shouldn’t expect them to be like last year or the year before. And this includes how you travel to and from your destinations. If anything, be flexible, patient, and set intentions for calm and peace. With that said, please consider the following tips to help you navigate the post-Covid holiday season. And the first thing to do is:
Be Aware of Others’ Limits
The way you celebrate holidays may be drastically different this year compared to past years’ holidays. While holidays were already stressful and emotional times, the lingering effects of Covid may be worsening those feelings for many. For that reason, you need to be more aware of those around you.
When it comes to your family’s and friends’ wishes, understand that some people may not want to have a big celebration for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Year. That’s okay. You don’t need to feel bad as you don’t know how they’re handling everything.
The same situation can go the other way around. If you aren’t comfortable going on a vacation or meeting up for a large gathering of family or friends, that’s okay. Tell them how you feel. Being mindful of how you feel and the feelings of others will help to not only minimize stress but keep things simple or even manageable.
If you plan to celebrate the holidays with family or friends, it’s crucial to plan everything ahead of time. Yes, plan! I know things are not the same but plans help things to go more smoothly. Talk to each other and be aware of any budget requirements, desires, and limits, if any. Your family or friends may not be in the right financial place to pay for gifts or purchase a bunch of extravagant food or wine, and that’s okay.
If you all take time to plan before the holiday, everyone will be less stressed and anxious when the day comes. And you’ll enjoy the essential aspect which is for everyone to be together and enjoy each other.
Pay Attention to Your Feelings
The holidays will always be an emotional time. Most people grew up eating a Thanksgiving meal with their family, celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas day with their families. However, as we grow older, we may not have what we once had, and that can make us feel down.
Regardless of where you are in life, it’s important to pay attention to your feelings during the holiday season. If you feel the holiday blues, and many people do, make it a priority to talk to someone about your feelings. Consider your options and reach out to friends, family, your life coach or spiritual advisor, online support groups, a therapist, or any other connections you have.
A sense of companionship can go a long way in relieving stress and anxiety from the holidays and this post-Covid world. Remember, you’re not alone unless you choose to be, so consider reaching out to any of the examples listed above.
Appreciate What You Have
I consider this a simple solution for peace and wellbeing. Seriously! It’s easy to compare what you have to what other people have or seem to have. Everything isn’t always the way it looks. Most of the time, it isn’t (in my experience).
Maybe your friend has a better job, a nicer home, or a newer car, and you think that you need the same. Perhaps you know folks who are going on a luxurious vacation or doing something unique and special, and you’re thinking how much you want to do that.
While it’s easy to think that you would be happy if you had the same (and you might be), why don’t you think about what you have instead of what you don’t have? Thinking about the positives—especially during the holidays—can ease any stress and anxiety you may have.
If you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and friends or family you can talk to, then you have an incredible life—a life for which you should be grateful. Furthermore, if you’re going to celebrate a holiday with family or friends, be appreciative of the fact that you guys can all get together.
If you don’t have a lot of friends, aren’t close with family, but you have people who treat you with respect, aren’t going hungry, have a roof over your head, and are safe and healthy, then you are equally as blessed. You, my friend, have a lot to be grateful for. To have something rather than nothing at all means you have something to be thankful for.
So if you can spend a holiday with friends, family, and loved ones, or even with your pets in peace and comfort is itself a blessing and a gift; the rest is just extra.
Navigating the holidays can prove to be a bit tricky by itself. When you throw in post-Covid into the mix, things can get even more complicated. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious this time of year, don’t worry; you’re not alone—we all feel the same and in the same boat.
However, that doesn’t mean that everything will go wrong. Remember what I said earlier about being flexible and patient? This is where you start applying more of that here. Do what you can to ensure all your friends and family are okay. Reach out to them to see how they’re doing.
Once again, if you decide to get together with friends and loved ones, see if they’re up to it and make plans ahead of time. Everyone must be on the same page as to expectations for your holidays to ensure all goes smoothly.
And, of course, continue to appreciate what you have today. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so be happy and make the most of each moment.