The holidays are quickly approaching and as with most things in 2020, the holidays are not immune to the impact of COVID-19. The holiday season can definitely trigger a variety of emotions, especially this year. With all things different and adjusting to the “new” normal, I have included some tips and tricks to help navigate this new season while still making lasting memories.
Attempt to keep family traditions alive as much as possible. Kids strive on ritual and routine so more than likely they will be looking forward to the things they enjoy most each year around this time. Also be open to adding new traditions. This may look like having conversations with your children and asking them for input on how they want to keep traditions alive. Kiddos are extremely creative and may come up with fun new ideas!
Here are some possible ideas: baking and decorating holiday cookies, having a hot chocolate tasting party, driving around and looking at christmas lights, watching christmas movies as a family (Elf is my favorite :)), letting the kids help decorate the house, and writing letters to santa.
Validate your own emotions and let your children feel their feelings. Change is hard and lacking control is even harder. This year has required tremendous resiliency from all of us. This year's holiday may bring up more feelings of grief and loss about not seeing family members, a change in traditions, or missing grandparents. Your children and you may be feeling sad and angry going into the holiday season. Others may be feeling even more isolated and alone. It’s important for you to acknowledge and validate your own emotions as well as your childrens’. This may look like, “You’re feeling really sad about not being able to see your grandparents, I miss them too. What would make this better? Would you like to facetime, zoom, call, or write a letter to them?”
Self-care. One of my favorite self-care activities is to create a daily gratitude list. Especially during this holiday season, it is important to stop and take notice of the positive things or what's going well for you. Research has proven that a continued practice of gratitude helps increase your dopamine and serotonin levels (AKA our happy brain juices). This may look like you creating an individual daily list or to include your children this may look like going around the table and having each family member share something they are thankful for daily.
How can you celebrate the holidays if not gathering? 2020 has taught us to be many things including flexible, resilient, and to develop a tolerance for the unknown. But most importantly it has forced us all to become a little more tech savvy. This holiday season you can connect with friends and family through video calls or get the family together for a zoom meal. I also recommend making your favorite holiday dish to enjoy during this season.
Lastly, have some grace and compassion for yourself. This is all new uncharted territory and this past year has been rough. Here is my mantra for the holiday season: “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is a part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.”
- Jessica Veillon, M.S., LPC Associate, NCC
Supervised by Sarah Carlson, Ph.D, LPC-S, RPT-S, E-RYT 200
If you or someone needs additional support, please contact Jessica at 214-856-0149, or email@example.com