Christmas can be a time of joy and magic for many. But for others, it triggers depression, sadness, and feelings of gloom. This year Christmas might look different for many of us. People can’t travel home, grandparents will be staying in, parties will be canceled, and many people will FaceTime their loved ones as they open gifts instead of embracing them in real-time. For Christmas lovers, this holiday might be a wet blanket on a usually festive season.
There are a few ways to overcome gloomy feelings and embrace the best parts of a Covid Christmas. Remember that you are not alone this year, and the best way to beat the blues is to make a plan of action and focus on what you can do this season. Below we have 6 ways to try and beat the Covid Christmas Blues. Let us know what you think in the comments and tell us how you are overcoming the gloom of the season!
Share How You Feel With Someone
Psychologists tell us that the worst thing you can do for mental health is to pretend everything is okay. You might not want to feel like you are the person bringing everyone down, but in the long run, this will hurt you more than it helps others. Instead of sharing your feelings with the whole room, reach out to someone you trust (a spouse, sibling, parent, or friend) to vent to. Tell them you need someone to validate your feelings and you need some emotional support. Sometimes, just saying our feelings out loud to a good listener will bring you instant relief.
Remember That Your Holiday Does Not Have To Be Perfect
Often the Holidays pressure us to perform like a “magazine cover celebrity goddess.” But this isn’t realistic, and it’s healthy to take time to envision your day and prepare for it in your own way. (And remember, celebrities who have their holiday livingrooms printed onto magazine covers had an entire team of artists, photographers, and designers to take that single photo. Then they had a team to tear it all down. Perfection is an idea sold to us, it’s not real.) It’s so important to take time to appreciate the imperfections of life as our source of true happiness. Try to recreate all of your traditions as best you can, even if they are performed without loved ones near. It's okay to have an unorthodox Christmas once in a while.
Take Time to Plan Your Day
Take time to think about your relationship with the holidays and chose how YOU want to celebrate them. This is especially important if you will be alone this year. Take time to plan your day. Do things that make you happy. Don’t do chores or homework or “try to get caught up on housework.” Make an effort to be festive and relaxed on Christmas Day. Call your best friend, your relatives, and open gifts virtually. Stay at a fancy hotel all alone. Or order takeout from a fancy restaurant and binge watch Christmas movies. Volunteer to serve food at a soup kitchen. Or stay in and make cookies and nap all day. Whatever it is that makes you happy, focus on those things, make a plan, and enjoy your day.
Take Time For Your Religion
If you are religious, take time to reconnect with your spirituality. Christmas time is a profoundly spiritual holiday for those who are religious, and sometimes the best way to beat the blues is to read the Christmas Story in the Book of Luke. Remind yourself of the true meaning of Christmas and all you are thankful for. Psychologists tell us that meditation (or prayer for those who are religious) is one of the best methods of correcting mood swings. So take time to prayerfully vent, give thanks, and seek guidance. And lastly, reflect on others who have had to endure much worse on Christmas Day in history; a new perspective can change our mood when we realize how blessed we truly are, even in a pandemic. Thankfulness is a true part of religion and an essential part of our emotional health.
Think About Creating New Traditions
Traditions are a big part of why we love the Christmas season. Traditions are the things that make us uniquely human and what we look forward to every year. Traditions give us memories. Traditions keep our society alive. Traditions are important.
Even though you might have to skip a few of your favorite ones this year, think of new ones you can start in 2020. Many Christmas traditions were born in times of war or hardship, like the Christmas stockings, for example. St. Nicolas would throw money into the chimneys of the poor people and the coins landed in the stockings hung by the fire to dry. This started out as something done for the poor but it turned into an international tradition! A tradition you start this holiday might be adopted in generations to come. So don’t lose hope! Have some fun and maybe 2020 might be the start of something beautiful!
Spend The Day For Others
We usually envision Christmas as a time for ourselves, but what if this year you spent the day doing things for others? Writing and delivering cards to lonely nursing home residents, volunteering at an animal shelter or taking food to a lonely person’s home. Deliver toys to a child who has it rough this year, or go door to door caroling. If you plan it right, you can fill your day with good deeds of real Christmas cheer and magic. And we all know that warm, euphoric feeling that sweeps over us when we do something good for someone else. That is the real gift to yourself and it cures the Christmas Blues better than anything else! (It's also science!)
We hope your holiday season is bright and cheery in spite of it being a different sort of year! Merry Christmas!