In the last column, I shared ways we can spend time with our family and friends when we are not able to physically meet. The holidays are usually a time filled with activity or at least travel. This being such a different one, I thought to focus on how we can be home and happy. Staying home will obviously be more advisable just so we stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. But how can we enjoy being home?
I know when our plans are changed, we often sulk and just want to stay in a grumpy and upset state. I understand the disappointment of not being able to travel far and wide or see all the people we would’ve wanted to see, and this year we have to deal with that. By being at home, we can find new things to keep us busy so we don’t hate this time. Aside from staying in touch with loved ones, find entertainment, play board games, tell stories, bake, cook, knit or read. Do as much as you can to stay busy and occupied so the void left by not being able to holiday as usual can be filled.
We may not be doing what we would’ve wanted to, but we can still enjoy this time we have. An attitude of gratitude helps you get through many difficult times. As we look around, it’s easy to start comparing with what others have and how much better off they are from you. But that will do nothing for you and will definitely do some damage to your mental health. Maybe you are single and feeling a bit lonely. Why not invite some of your other friends or join family for a festive lunch or dinner? Or if you won’t make it home for the holidays, why not share a meal or tradition with friends that will make you remember home? We can do many things to substitute the great things others have that we don’t. The idea is to not obsess but to look around you and see how you can be resourceful with what you do have.
New can be great too
Not being able to do the things we are used to means tradition is broken and so is routine. 2020 has had plenty of disruption, and for many, this has been uncomfortable and unsettling. However, as you may have also discovered by now, new can mean great things. The new norms have been odd adjustments, but some have brought us many great ways of doing things.
The same applies to traditions. You may have to cancel caroling door-to-door and that big Christmas play you put on each year, but if you do it online this year, you get to share with many more people. Isn’t that a plus? The kids may not be able to go see the Christmas lights somewhere, but why not create something new they can do at home? Maybe they can make their own decorations for their room and have a presentation night to show them to you.
We will have to be creative, but I know if our goal is to make the most out of our different situations, we will have a great holiday. Focus less on the bad you cannot control, and focus more on the things you can still adjust and move around to make this festive season meaningful and prepare for a great 2021.
I wish you the very best holidays and that you enjoy all the festivities. Live fully each day, and enjoy the time and experiences you have this festive season. I am excited for all we will share in 2021, but for now, happy holidays from me.
Until next time, remember: when you change your thinking, you can change your life.
Cynthia M is a mental wellness coach trained in psychology. She works with different individuals and groups to help them establish a more balanced state of emotional wellbeing so they can experience a better quality of life.
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