There’s no doubt the holidays will be more challenging this year. You may be mourning the loss of traditions, traveling to see family or family coming to see you. There is a real feeling of loss this Thanksgiving. These are difficult times. If you are feeling lonely, anxious, fearful, sad, or stressed, know you are not alone even if you are physically isolated.
It’s easy to sink into feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, which means you may feel all the more proud of yourself when you conquer those feelings. Here are some ideas:
Make your feast even more special. Think quality, not quantity. You may have fewer people at your table this year, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the amenities. Polish the silver. Put some effort into the table décor. Light the candles. Play the music. Have a plan to make a nice dinner, whatever that means to you and your family. It will make you feel good to engage in a project that reaps delicious rewards.
Find something to do for others. You may not want to have contact with people outside your home this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone who needs your help. For example, if you have fewer people at your table, cook for multitudes as usual and deliver the extra to those in need. Seek out those who will benefit from your efforts and need connection, even if that connection is socially distanced.
Rethink the negative to positive. A smaller family meal can be a more intimate meal with those you love. Loneliness can really be an opportunity for ‘me’ time—solitude that allows you to learn and develop new skills. Fewer folks at your table mean fewer chances of arguing politics with relatives, a real plus. And use technology to connect with loved ones far away instead of going down rabbit holes on social media. Maybe you even make an appointment to talk at a specific time during the day—and have some positive ideas of what to talk about.
Prioritize your joys. Maybe you don’t like cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe you don’t even like cooking. Order out. Or make an Italian feast. It’s a different holiday this year, and with fewer folks around, you can do what you want. Take a yoga class online and punt the dinner all together if that makes you feel better. Or spend the day doing a hobby you enjoy. This is one Thanksgiving where traditions can go by the wayside if that’s the way you’d like it.
Refuse to give in to Covid fatigue. Now is not the time to give up when you’ve come this far. You’ve been vigilant a long time—now be vigilant and a little longer. You can do anything for a short amount of time, even though it seems like forever since Covid began. If you can endure hardship for one holiday season you can make it. You are not helpless. How you handle yourself is within your power. When you summon the discipline to get through this, when you dig deep to muster strength, it feels really good when you succeed. Things will change for the better eventually.
Count your blessings. The most important thing of all this season.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact