Holidays Done Differently
This year, all of us have gone (and are still going) through many challenges due to COVID-19. One major challenge is how to handle the holiday season. Whatever your holiday plans, we strongly encourage you to follow CDC guidelines to wear masks, to practice social distancing, to wash hands, and especially not to travel or gather for the holidays. While not gathering in person for the holidays may seem like a heartbreaking request, it doesn’t have to be!
Let’s talk about how we can get through the holidays with gratitude, forgiveness, love, inner strength, and unity. Let’s focus on how we can help others and how we can share and connect with family and friends creatively without our usual gatherings, and in so doing focus on what truly matters.
1. Find inspiration despite the separation
Before the pandemic, our brave men and women in the military have missed holidays and milestones. How did and do they cope with this long-distance? They communicate with technology, with good,
old-fashioned snail mail for letters and care packages, and they remember that their sacrifice helps the whole country. We can do the same when separated from our loved ones and remember that our separation helps contain COVID-19.
2. Revamp family traditions
Even if you can’t eat a family meal together, you can use virtual group gatherings like Zoom or FaceTime to see each other open presents, sing carols, and holiday songs, toast each other, pray together, and even play games. You could mail holiday masks to each other, take videos or photos of your family baking, singing, reciting a special poem that you create, dancing, creating a special message, making snow angels, or playing in the snow.
Many seasonal concerts, musical performances, and plays are available online, free of charge!
3. Reach out
Make it a point to reach out to family, friends, and neighbors who live alone or are in the military, in hospitals, or in nursing homes. If they’re within driving distance, let them know when you will drive by and wave to each other from the yard or sidewalk. Drop off a package on the porch, write a message on poster board and tape it to the window or door, make a homemade card or meal and deliver it if possible. Or pay for a local restaurant to deliver a meal. Even the smallest gesture of love can go a long way in making someone feel that they matter and that you care.
4. Stop and go!
Use a technique called thought stopping to help deal with the stress of the holidays during this pandemic. When a negative or fearful thought pops into your head, stop and replace it with a positive one. Studies show that the act of smiling, even if you feel stressed, can actually result in helping you feel happier, especially if you start ruminating over stressful things you can’t control.
Go! There’s nothing like getting physically active and getting some fresh air to lift the spirits. Being active and enjoying the outdoors can help refresh, renew, and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit!
5. Be kind to yourself
We know that a lot is going on in our world and sometimes we forget about self-care. Please make time for yourself. You matter, you count. So, you deserve to take some time just for yourself during the holidays. Whatever makes your soul sing, make some time for you.
Reading, taking a walk, praying, talking with a friend, engaging in a hobby, etc. Making some ‘you’ time will help you refocus, renew, and keep you positively centered during these changing and challenging times.
It’s easy to feel the spirit of the season when things are merry and bright. Let’s allow the challenge of this season to help us connect more, complain less, and be grateful.
The holidays will not be the same this year, but that doesn’t diminish the reason for the season nor does it diminish the joy we can find in that meaning and in each other. Though many of us are physically apart this holiday season, we are still close in heart.
Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy holiday season! One we will
never forget! We will most certainly prevail!
Quotes to live by:
"You cannot change reality, but you can control the manner in which you look at things. Your attitude is under your own control. Weed out the negative and focus on the positive!"
Helen Steiner Rice
"The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible."
"Positivity will block the negative thoughts that overwhelm you during tough times. Stay positive and you'll achieve more than what you set yourself for."
Anurag Prakash Ray
"One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone."
Shannon L. Alder
"We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."
Martin Luther King
"You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them."