This year, with the pandemic affecting travel, social gatherings, and other holiday festivities, many may be celebrating on their own. Although the holiday season will be different from past years, there are steps you can take to plan a safe and meaningful holiday season.
- Simplify Holiday Expectations and Be Present. Give yourself permission to celebrate the holidays on your own terms, release yourself from preconceptions about “being alone,” and let yourself be present. Remind yourself that these restrictions are for one year so we can celebrate many more in the years ahead.
- Virtual Gatherings. You may not be able to visit with your loved ones physically, but thanks to technology, you can still socialize with them. Schedule time for everyone to join a video chat where to share photos, open gifts, and even raise a toast to each other. You can even plan to sit down for your holiday meals at the same time and share the experience virtually.
- Create a Pandemic “Family”. Chances are that if your holiday plans changed, at least one other person you know also changed their usual holiday plans. Ask around and see if some friends want to get together via video chat or an outdoor, socially distanced, and safe gathering.
- Volunteer. Many organizations need extra volunteers during the holiday season. There are opportunities to help remotely, and many organizations have put in place protocols and procedures to ensure that in-person opportunities adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Visit AmeriCorps for more information about finding these opportunities near you.
- Treat Yourself. If you are going to observe the holidays on your own, use the time for some well-deserved and, likely overdue, pampering. Build anticipation by planning to do something fun for yourself. Is there a book you have been meaning to read? A series you want to stream? Is this the opportunity you needed to sleep in or engage in mindfulness? This self-care, however you define it for you, will give you something to look forward to and make the holiday feel unlike an ordinary day. If you drink alcohol, pay attention to your consumption and do not underestimate its effects.
- Focus on Self and Home Improvement. Tackle the painting project you have been putting off or take up that new hobby you’ve always wanted to master.
Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help
Learning to cope with changes due to factors out of our control, especially during the holiday season can be a challenging and stressful. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or in need of talking to someone, your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. The EAP provides you and your eligible family members with someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you need help coping with this holiday season. Services are provided at no cost to you. For help or more information, contact your Component EAP or send an email to email@example.com.