Do you remember...
back when the pandemic began (that at once seems like yesterday and also 500 years ago) and the world talked about it being over in a couple, or perhaps three months? Laughable now, right?
And then when last Christmas rolled around societal leaders in the health sphere (aka health officers) talked about how Christmas 2020 needed to be different for the health, safety and well-being of friends and family.
Which meant no big Christmas family dinners, or opening presents at grandma's house, but rather visits with family via Zoom or Skype or FaceTime. Virtual Christmas dinners. But we were told it was temporary. That the world would be back to normal soon, especially with vaccines starting to be rolled out in certain countries as early as last Fall and December, so there was a light on the horizon and talk of normal summertime goings-on.
And surely by December 2021, the holiday season would be the same as seasons past, circa 2019 and before…Right? Wrong.
So how can we get through a pandemic Christmas version 2.0? Granted it might not be as lockdown-like or stay-at-home-order-y or shelter-in-place-ish, but it’s still not ‘back to normal’ (and here’s where I begin to wonder what is ‘normal’ and when will we ever actually see it again? Or will our planet forever be full of people wearing masks roaming here and there, in stores and places where there are lots of people?).
So what are some ways you can have a cope-able Christmas, especially if you’re still uncomfortable with ‘regular’ life? (seeing how the pandemic is nowhere near over), and being around large gatherings (which is a lot of what the Christmas holiday season is all about, right?)
- Fire up your trusty Zoom app again - I know, you probably even haven’t stopped using it, right? So having some virtual visits again this Christmas might even be less painful than it was last year, because it’s our second time on this particular merry-go-round, right? Plus you probably have a better grasp on how to Zoom without that pesky Zoom fatigue that psychologists were going on and on about last year.
- The Christmas season is all about giving, am I right? So what better thing to do than to help others - maybe make meals for those who aren’t comfortable (or able) to go out amongst the crowds? Or maybe leave a surreptitious little secret Santa sack for your neighbours.
- Nourish yourself - mentally, physically, emotionally. The holidays are often stressful at the best of times, but during Covid Christmas part deux, you need to really lather on the self-care tactics! Eat healthily (aka don’t overindulge), sneak some exercise/movement in every day (and no, that doesn’t mean getting off the couch and heading to the kitchen for more snacks!), and get a good night’s sleep. I think that covers all the general well-being basis.
- Thank the gods for technology and online shopping, amirite? You don’t have to leave the house and brave the scarily crowded malls (scary in more than one way now - more than just claustrophobia-inducing, but also potential covid-catching zones) and instead have stuff delivered directly to your door (or to the relative safety of the post office, or even the uber-futuristic pick-up lockers courtesy of the world-wide ‘get-everything-here’ company I won’t name).
- One of my fave things to keep in mind during stressful times is gratitude. As stated, the holidays are stressful for a variety of reasons (for me, personally, it’s when I lost my mom a few years ago, so the sparkle and shine has been rubbed off this time of year for me, and I’m sure I’m not alone with loss and grief during the holidays). But a gratitude practice can help lift you when times are tough, and remind you that, whatever might be going on, there are always things to be grateful for - even if they’re seemingly inconsequential, like getting out of bed, or having a shower, or having the energy to actually cook a meal rather than just eat cereal for dinner. And during Covid, being grateful for our health and the health and wellbeing of our families and loved ones can help us get through the festive season. And finally, as always...
- If things get overwhelming or you’re struggling with your mental health, you can always ask for help from friends, family, or even someone more qualified to give you tools to help support you (and again, the virtual world is your friend and you can have virtual visits with therapists without even changing out of your pyjamas! Well, you might want to change your top).
Do you have any ideas, suggestions, or life hacks for surviving the Pandemic Christmas holidays 2021? If so, I’d love to hear them!