This holiday season will be a bit unconventional, with most of us having limited options for entertaining ourselves or meeting up with friends and family. While some people have bubbled up with others, the majority of us will likely limit our social group for the season, foregoing visiting parents and grandparents in order to avoid exposing them to the unnecessary risk of COVID-19.
While this is the right thing to do, it makes for a stressful and sad holiday season, one that will be difficult to cope with for many. Here are a few simple things you can do to make the holidays feel special during the pandemic:
Fill your calendar
This year has been rough on relationships of all kinds. The pandemic has made it difficult for us to see each other, and when talking or texting, it leaves us in an awkward position of not having much to say. Yes, we spend most of your day indoors. There’s nothing new to discuss.
Use the holidays as an opportunity to reconnect, scheduling phone calls, Zoom chats or distanced hangouts with those that live close to you. If you haven’t talked to a friend much throughout the year, or have disagreed with their approach to the pandemic, use this time to reach out and overcome your differences.
Foster an animal
Animals make great companions and cuddle buddies, especially when you’re feeling lonely or sad. If you want temporary company, volunteer for walks at animal centers or ask a friend to pet sit one of their pets. If you want something for a longer period of time, look into fostering animals.
Cook something special for someone
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Cooking is a great distraction, one that’s soothing and time consuming, perfect for lonely holidays. What’s not great is cooking for one, which involves a lot of work and very brief enjoyment. The next time you want to cook, prepare bigger portions and give them to loved ones who live close to you. They’ll appreciate the gesture and you can use this opportunity to hang out with someone new.
Allow yourself to feel sad
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Perhaps the best thing you can do this month is to allow yourself to feel all of your emotions, happy and sad alike. The holidays are always complex, whether you spend them alone or with family. This year has been tough, and the end of it will likely result in a cathartic moment. Give yourself the room to feel it all, to reach out for help, and to get ready for the coming year. You’ll feel better.