The holiday season is supposed to be a joyous time of year, however it brings a great deal of stress for many people for various reasons. This year, the COVID pandemic is further complicating things.
As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, we are faced with tough decisions for how to celebrate and also stay safe as COVID cases spike across the country. Many people are choosing to avoid large gatherings this year. While that decision may help avoid the virus, it can cause some turmoil with family members and bring on feelings of depression and isolation, so plan ahead to cope.
6 Ways to Cope This Year
1. Be Honest and Communicate
If you decide it's best for you and your family to avoid traditional festivities this year, honest communication is key. While your family may be disappointed or even angry, emphasize your choice is based on keeping everyone safe. If emotions are running high and the conversation gets heated, it's best to let everyone cool off and not argue.
2. Change Your Attitude
Instead of looking at what is being taken away from you this year, remind yourself that this isn't forever (even though it feels like it!). Your sacrifice this year is an effort to keep you and your family safe and avoid having empty chairs at the table next year.
3. Adapt Your Traditions or Make a New one
Maybe your entire family plays a game after Thanksgiving dinner each year. This year, host it on Zoom instead. If you can't have your mom's stuffing this year, get her recipe and try making it. If you're worried about feeling lonely or depressed, plan a fun activity to do at home that day. Watch your favorite movie, have a pajama day, find a new game to play. If you have kids, involve them in coming up with an idea.
4. Get Outside if You Can
In addition to burning the extra calories that come with Thanksgiving, a simple walk can boost your mood and help relieve some stress. Learn more about the mental health benefits of walking.
5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation or Avoid It
Don't turn to alcohol to ease your stress or to try to avoid your feelings. While a drink may relieve bad feelings initially, they come rushing back when it's out of your system. Alcohol is a depressant, so it could leave you feeling worse in the end. Try one of these festive non-alcoholic drinks instead!
6. Remember What it's All About
Thanksgiving is a day to remember what you have to be grateful for. Even if you can't gather with loved ones this year, take a moment to reflect on all of the positives in your life; family, friends, a job, a home, etc. Even if you can only see your family on Zoom, be grateful that we have the technology to bring everyone together from afar. An added bonus is gratitude is good for your health! Find out more.