2020 has brought change to many of our normal routines. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected much of our everyday lives as we are staying home more, keeping our distances from others, and struggling with a number of new challenges. When you have a better idea of what to expect this Thanksgiving and how COVID will change the holidays, you will be better able to cope and may even find some new ways to celebrate the season.
Reconsider Family Gatherings
The CDC explains that as the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The organization recommends celebrating virtually with members of your family or friends who do not live in your home. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.
To participate in or host lower risks activities for Thanksgiving you can:
- Host a virtual dinner and share recipes with your friends and family via a video chat
- Enjoy a small dinner with the people who live with you
- Prepare a special dinner with traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them in a safe, appropriately distanced manner
- Watch football games, parades, and movies from the safety of your home
- Do your holiday shopping online instead of in person, as you might traditionally do on the day after Thanksgiving or the following Monday.
Coping with Your Feelings
When thinking about how COVID will change the holidays, you may wonder how you will be able to cope with these new challenges. You have already experienced more isolation this year due to the pandemic. Mental Health America (MHA) suggests that figuring out your emotions about the upcoming holidays can make things feel less overwhelming. Most people are feeling a lot of different ways at once right now, which is hard for our brains to process and understand.
This year has been a difficult year for many reasons. Some of your distress is likely related to things other than the holidays. It is completely normal for you to be feeling a bit more emotional than usual right now. Take some time to sort through your emotions in whatever way is most productive for you – you can journal, talk to a friend, or just spend some quiet time alone thinking. Once you have a better idea of the specific feelings you’re experiencing, you can start making plans to cope with them.
Acknowledge What You Feel You’ve Lost
While the holidays are mainly about thankfulness and celebration, this can also be a really hard time of year, even during normal circumstances. If you’re missing a loved one, think of ways to honor them during your festivities. If you’ve lost a job or had to drop out of school, take the time to recognize the challenges that came with that. Even if you haven’t lost anything concrete, we’ve all lost our sense of normalcy this year – it’s okay to grieve that during this time.
Continue to be Grateful
It may seem more difficult than usual to express gratitude at Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, given the challenges you may have experienced this year and knowing how COVID will change the holidays for you and your family. There is still plenty to be thankful for, though. Make a conscious effort to regularly identify some things that you’re grateful for. It can be something as broad as your health, or something as specific as your favorite song playing on the radio the last time you got in the car.
Start New Traditions
Change is hard, but it isn’t always bad. There are still ways to celebrate the season with your loved ones, even if you must give up some of your favorite traditions. Find creative ways to adapt. Or start new traditions – they may even add more meaning to your holiday season.
Help for Your Mental Health and Addiction During COVID-19
The holidays will be different this year. The professionals at South Miami Recovery are here to help you learn coping skills and to help you get started toward your recovery. We realize that your well-being is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need now. Contact us today for help. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.