The holidays this year feel a lot different than normal. While many people have reported that the lack of holiday parties feels like a relief from a food perspective, it feels harder due to the increased isolation. The holidays are a time when we are used to connecting, feeling like a part of something, and sharing in moments with other people. They are often far from perfect, but they do typically still offer moments of joy and often we can feel the added sparkle in our everyday lives.
This year feels different. For the most part, there haven’t been any in person Christmas parties to attend. Many of the events that take place to ring in the holidays have been cancelled or moved to online. Currently it is still somewhat up in the air if we can spend the holidays with family and friends, or if we will be instructed to stay home. It is hard for most people to tolerate the uncertainty of what this holiday season will bring, and made harder by the lack of celebration in our lives.
Having been in private practice for over 10 years, I don’t think I have ever experienced a mental health crisis like we are in right now. Individuals who have been doing reasonably well are crashing and those who are in the midst of their struggle are often finding themselves completely overwhelmed by the grief, isolation, loneliness and sadness that this year has brought. While I don’t think we can fix the fact that we are in a pandemic right now, I do feel we can make ourselves, and this season, feel a little bit more merry by making a few small adjustments.
- As hard as this is, try to focus on the type of support you can get. In my work, I am noticing that people right now are ruminating on the things that aren’t working, the people who aren’t showing up, or the fact that support looks different. It’s completely okay for it to feel crappy, but when we focus only on that angle, we are only going to feel crappy. Instead, try to focus on the support you can get. Maybe it’s not everything you want, but I promise you, it is always going to feel better than nothing.
- Join a recovery community. The Looking Glass Foundation has many wonderful online programs available. Their chat happens 10 times a week with at least 1 chat a day. Alternatively, you could connect to their forum (Personal Recovery Space) where you can write to your volunteer whenever you feel it would be helpful and with the holidays often being a challenging, having help at your fingertips can often be a huge relief. There is also the Let Us Eat Cake podcast and their Instagram Snack Time and Chill where you can connect over Instagram and have a snack together. Body Brave offers wonderful group and individual support. The best part about these three communities is that they are all free!
- Do for yourself what others would typically do for you. I know it can be hard to decide to attend to yourself the way you might others, but there is no better time to try than now. If there are certain traditions you are used to doing with others, try to find a way to adapt them and still do it. For example, my friends and I used to often get together to decorate our Christmas trees, we would make hot chocolate (usually with a bit of baileys!) and after decorating we would watch a Christmas movie and eat Christmas cookies. I know it won’t be the same to do it this year without them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still make the effort. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, try to focus on what you can. I often tell my relationship clients that they need to practice dating themselves. I think this year we could all use a little bit of extra love, and truly there is no person more deserving than yourself. So follow through on your traditions. Doing so sends the message to yourself that you matter in your own life. What an important message to end the year on.
If there is anything we can do to help you feel more connected, reach out. We always want to connect with our community and are always just an email away.