For many people, the holidays will look very different this year. Every year comes with its own special complications but this year has been exceptionally unusual for society as a whole. Even if you’ve been blessed enough to stay afloat or sail through this year, as a collective we are all mourning the loss of normalcy. Many of us spend the whole year looking forward to the holidays, dreaming about gathering with our loved ones, sharing delicious meals, and spending quality time with one another. For a myriad of reasons, that dream of the holiday season might not be a reality for all of us this year. Some may be facing financial trouble or unemployment during this uncertain time and some might also be struggling with the loss of a loved one and will be in a period of mourning this holiday season. Others may feel stressed and overworked and may potentially not even get a break this year. Whatever we may be going through, it is important to remember that our emotional health is always extremely important to take care of and it is also of equal importance to remember to make sure that our loved ones also feel safe, loved, and protected, whether we have them close or at a distance this year.
While the holiday season is often highly romanticized by the media and movies and whatever else, for some it can be a really overwhelming time, even in normal circumstances. Don’t fall into the trap of over-romanticizing this time of the year because that can sometimes lead to disappointment when expectations are not met. Instead, take the time to practice gratitude for everything you have and don’t waste time or energy on what could have been. Take time to take stock of this year, recognize and pay special attention to your feelings and your experiences of this year, and think about what you really think would make you feel better during this time. It could be spending time doing an abandoned hobby you once loved, writing letters to those you are not able to spend time with in person this year, starting a journal to organize all your feelings, or calling up old friends to chat. If you are lucky enough to have your loved ones close to you this holiday season, focus on them, and make sure you love on them as best you can. Focus on what you do have and be present with the people you have with you, rather than focusing on everything you might be missing out on this year as a result of the pandemic situation.
Get creative in the way you can bond with those you have both near and far, find the silver lining, and enjoy the slower pace of life even if it’s in the midst of a trying situation. There is always something good to take out of any given situation. Focus on the positive but also remember that it is also important to process everything you’re feeling and that process may take time. Always err on the side of kindness, generosity, and grace in the way that you treat yourself during this time as well as in the way you treat others because we never know what kind of process they may be going through as well. This holiday season, let’s all commit to err on the side of love.