5 Ways To Navigate This Holiday Season
With daylight savings officially behind us, it's time to start getting ready for the holiday season! Many people are grappling with how to handle seeing loved ones over the next few weeks/months. If this feels like something you're struggling with too, then this blog is for you!
I hope these 5 tips help you make the best decision for you and for your loved ones:
1. First and foremost, meet people where they’re at!
This pandemic has upended all of our lives and we are all trying to find our way back to a new "normal." Some people are ready to meet in-person while others prefer to stay outdoors, some are OK with going maskless while others are not. If we're going to make it through this holiday season with our relationships in-tact, we need to respect each other's comfort levels. It's counter-productive to try to impose our beliefs onto others, so we must LISTEN to our loved ones, respect them, refrain from passing judgement, and try to find a way to compromise within reason. If there are hard boundaries that cannot be negotiated, then keep reading! There are still many ways to bring joy to you and to your loved ones this holiday season.
2. Recognize when you, or someone you love, is experiencing compassion fatigue
These last 18-20 months have been incredibly difficult. Most people have never, and will never, experience anything like this again in our lifetimes. Many people are tired- of staying indoors, of wearing masks, of debating vaccinations, and of polarizing politics in this country, to name a few. When you feel like you just don't care anymore, when you just can't take care of anyone else in your life (including yourself!) you may be experiencing compassion fatigue. Take a moment to reflect on what's causing you to feel this way, practice some self-care, utilize healthy coping skills, and re-group. Understanding your needs, as well as the needs of others, will help you better navigate this holiday season.
3. Get vaccinated/ follow cdc guidelines
This tip may seem obvious to most of you, but I would be remiss if I didn't include this VERY important tip in this blog! Get vaccinated if you can and follow CDC guidelines. It's simple. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Full stop.
4. Give where you can
One third of households are struggling to pay their bills. Homelessness continues to be a serious issue. Several shelters are overcrowding with too many animals. The climate continues to worsen. There are so many challenges in today's society, so tip #4 is to find a cause that you're passionate about and do something about it. If you are able, donate. If funds are tight, volunteer. If time is restricted, write a letter or call your local politician to express your concerns. Giving back makes us feel good and research supports that.
If you read my last blog, you'll know that I am a big fan of focusing on what you CAN control vs. getting worked up over things that are out of your control. You can't control your loved ones behavior nor can you control their choices, but you CAN control what you do with your time and with your money. Step up for yourself and for your community. It will certainly lift your spirits this holiday season!
5. Practice gratitude
Most holidays involve practicing some level of gratitude and I encourage you to hold onto that sentiment all season long! Reflect on what you have- whether it's your health, the ability to connect with others (even remotely), extra time at home, the ability to further engage in activities we enjoy, etc. Check out this How to Practice Gratitude article for more information. When we feel frustrated with the choices others are making or disappointed that our beliefs don't align, it's important to remember what we have and to focus on the good. I guarantee your mental health WILL improve as will your relationships with others.
Navigating this holiday season is once again a tricky situation, but meeting people where they're at, reflecting on your feelings, staying safe, engaging in philanthropic endeavors, and choosing to remain hopeful, positive and grateful will help us all get through this difficult time together.
Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!
In good health,
Melissa Z. Golub, LCSW
Owner of MZG Counseling, LLC