The COVID-19 pandemic has altered how we operate and move about our day. As the holiday season approaches, it is now affecting how we celebrate. Fear surrounding COVID-19 may stop family and friends from gathering. Feelings of depression and anxiety may arise from the pressure to celebrate. It is crucial to contact your family and support system, even if you cannot meet and find ways to spread holiday cheer without getting together.

Gathering Safely

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been experiencing stress and isolation. With the upcoming holidays, you may have been excited to finally gather with family and friends. However, some people may not want to meet or may wish to decrease holiday parties’ size. If your family or friends are gathering, there are several things to consider to be safe, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Exposure during travel: Airports, bus stations, train stations, gas stations and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus. You may want to consider other ideas for celebrating the holidays that do not include traveling. 
  • Location of the gathering: Indoor gatherings pose more risk than those that are outside. Consider getting a small group together outdoors.
  • Number of people: Gatherings with more people pose more risk than those that have fewer. The CDC does not have a limit on the number of people who can attend. However, you should determine the size of a family gathering based on the ability to stay six feet apart, wear masks and wash hands. Ensure that you are also following local safety laws, rules and regulations. 
  • Behavior prior and during the gathering: You may not want to include family or friends who do not regularly follow safety guidelines and preventive measures. While you are gathering, remember that social distancing, wearing masks and washing your hands lower the transmission risk. 

Not only could this ease your fears, but it could lend insight as to how to find ways to cope. In an escalated case, you could seek professional help and therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy to help you correct your negative thoughts, behaviors and impulses during this stressful time.

Be Gracious and Kind to Yourself

The stresses presented by the pandemic can be a lot to handle. When coupled with the holiday season’s priorities and obligations, they might consume you if they are not addressed. One of the many ways you could reduce stress and pressure is not taking on any more responsibilities outside of what you can handle. Understand that these are unique times. Give yourself grace. If you find yourself caught in a cycle of anxiety, not all is lost.

Take a moment to evaluate the situation and why you reacted that way. Was it because you told your sibling that you would handle sending out the holiday cards? Or bake and ship out cookies to friends and family? Or did you agree to travel to see friends, convincing yourself that you can handle travel during the pandemic? Deciding to undertake additional responsibilities when you do not have the time will add to your stress and anxiety. While it is not encouraged that you let your fear and stress govern you, you must be reasonable, practical and above all, honest about what you are capable of. Say “no” if you are not up to doing something holiday related.

Create Meaningful Experiences

Understand that “new normal” is the current reality, and no amount of trying to predict and plan for a future will influence what is happening right now. While the experiences you have this year are likely going to be different, they can still be meaningful. You can look at the positives: utilizing online video chats to see family and friends could significantly reduce any reservations you have about traveling, socializing and planning events. Additionally, you stand to save a lot of time and money by staying home. You could also view this as a unique way to begin new traditions such as cooking along with friends and family or doing virtual gift exchanges through online shopping sites. Remember, just because times are hard does not mean that you cannot have fun and enjoy yourself.

 

COVID-19 has affected everyday life and will continue to affect the holiday season. Family and friends may not gather. You may feel lonely and experience depression and anxiety due to pressure to spread holiday cheer. There are several safety guidelines you can follow if you wish to meet. However, if you cannot plan or attend a gathering, there are several other ways to celebrate the holiday season and decrease negative feelings. Remember to set boundaries with those you love and to overload yourself during this holiday season. These are stressful times for us all, do not add on anymore that is unnecessary. If you are struggling with substance use disorder worsened by the holiday season or COVID-19, New Hope Ranch can help. We have maintained our cause to deliver care and treatment to those who need it. We offer an array of services to ensure that you are always receiving the utmost care. To learn more, call us today at (737) 600-8565.