For many years, the holidays were filled with a happy, cheerful vibe. The pandemic has changed the course of how we’re viewing the holidays – with overwhelmed healthcare systems, unexpected deaths, and no clear news on the vaccine, the holidays may not be as cheery as it should be.
How do we navigate around the holidays when we are going through grief, anxiety, depression, and disappointments? What does self-care mean this holiday, and how can you use it to find a glimmer of hope for this season and the year to come?
It’s Okay Not to Feel Happy and Cheerful
By now, stores are already playing holiday songs to set the mood. With every “it’s the most wonderful time of the year…” and “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” you feel more and more confused why you’re not feeling the holiday cheer at all.
This pandemic holiday is unprecedented – it’s new and it caught everyone off guard. With travel restrictions, government warnings against gatherings, and a glum vibe everywhere, feeling anything but holiday-ready is justifiable.
Grieve if you may, cut yourself some slack, and don’t feel guilty to give yourself the gift of self-care and self-compassion this holiday season.
Holiday Self Care for the Pandemic Christmas
The pandemic not only disrupted plans, it changed lives. To some, this holiday pandemic is the first time they’re going to celebrate without a loved one. To others, Christmas in a time of pandemic only exacerbates the absence of what they’ve lost this year – a loved one, a business, a friend. If you’re one of those who are experiencing holiday emotional struggles, here are some Christmas season self-care you can try.
Allow Yourself To Grieve
We’ve all lost something due to the pandemic – a plan, a friend, a loved one, a business venture. Although the holidays are a perfect time to regain optimism, we should not hesitate giving ourselves the chance to grieve. Feeling the ravaging emotions is the first step to healing.
Some of us may believe that masking the pain with a happier disposition is the go-to solution. However, acknowledging emotions – and recognizing that they’re real – even on the holiday season is also a great gift we can give to ourselves.
Slowly Learn to Find Joy
Although the world is still in a chaotic state, we can still learn to find joy – no matter how little they are.
It can take a lot of effort – especially when things seem like they’re all over the place. But finding little joys – like receiving a smile from a stranger, or getting bits of good news every day – can get us through the holidays even if it feels bleak.
Find Hope – No Matter How Small They Be
Finding hope to grasp onto can also be difficult. The Christmas season will be different – family is far, traveling is not encouraged, and going out and doing new stuff can’t be done without an ounce of worry in our minds.
How do we find hope? By knowing that there are still great things to celebrate. Zoom calls. Video conferences. Intimate get-togethers. Even if times have changed, there are still ways we can find hope – and holding on to little hope can make our holidays much brighter.
Take a Break from Celebrations
If meeting with friends and family does not seem to feel right this Christmas season, remember you can take a break from celebrations. It’s okay to get some peace now – you don’t have to feel guilty about it.
Everyone is coping in different ways, and if you prefer to cope alone, give yourself the gift of being alone. In this overwhelming time, YOU can put YOU first.
Make the Holidays a Little Lighter for Someone
One of the most meaningful adages goes this way “It’s in the helping that we find the healing…” Helping others is a great oxytocin booster. So if you need a little pick-me-up moment, extending help to someone might just do the trick.
How to Move Forward and Find New Meaning in 2021
Christmas during a pandemic is a great time to meditate on how 2021 is going to be for us. Thanks to 2020, how we’re planning the next year will be different from how we planned last 2019. With all the changes that 2021 will bring, how do we move forward from the grief, anxiety, depression, and uncertainty we felt during 2020?
Use Your Struggles to Manifest How You Want 2021 to Happen
There’s a high chance the pandemic will still be here next year, but that should not mean we need to put our goals on hold. Let your 2020 challenges, and 2020 heartaches fuel what you want in 2021.
Has a loss reminded you to take care of yourself better? Go for it.
Did sudden changes cause you to re-evaluate your plans? Learn from it.
Did uncertainty tell you not to take for granted the most special things in your life? Remember it.
Use grief, heartbreak, loss, and struggles as your fuel to live 2021 mindfully, and with more intention.
Set Goals, But Also Focus On What Matters Most
If there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s the fact that some of the things we perceive as important are actually not. We can set goals to help us bounce back from 2020 downfalls, but acknowledging that there are things – and people – that matter most should also be on top of our list.
For the majority of people, 2020 has also been filled with regret. Let us find hope in 2021 by making sure we spend more time on things and people that matter most.
The 2020 holiday celebrations may be different from what we’ve been used to, but we can find hope and a dash of happiness through self-care, self-love, and holding on to hope for the next year. Here’s to ending the year in the way that serves us best, whatever that may be, with no judgment. And to fresh beginnings just around the corner!