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Tips for Enjoying a Very Different Holiday Season

This holiday season will look different for many of us due to the pandemic. After a long, hard year, many of us won’t be able to enjoy the typical traditions we look forward to or celebrate with loved ones in the way we normally do. How do we make the most – or even just enjoy – this time?

We asked Jessica Tomasula, PhD, manager, Children’s Behavioral Health, and Jeremy Gilmore, director, Spiritual Care, to share some tips and suggestions for managing this unusual season:

  • Give yourself a break from such high expectations. Consider what is doable for you and your family this year and recognize that it won’t look like past holidays.
  • Make sure you – and your family – get rest. Make sleep (the right amount) a consistent priority for the whole family.
Social distance visit between young boy and his grandmother
  • Read works that inspire you, such as religious texts, poetry or even your favorite books.
  • Create and protect a time and space for family communication and emotional expression. Let each person talk about their high and low points of the day as well as their gratitude or improvement interests.
Close up of a young family doing some online Christmas shopping
  • Embrace your holiday traditions like cooking favorite meals and sending cards. Consider adding a virtual element to engage others – try virtual caroling (record videos to send to loved ones) or a virtual game night.
  • Get out in nature. Bundle up and for a walk in a park or greenway. Gather the family for an overnight camping trip or a day on the water fishing or boating.
Father, mother, son and daughter on a walk in the countryside during COVID-19
  • Donate to help those in need.
  • Take time to yourself to reflect through meditation, journaling or prayer. Deep breathing techniques – like square breathing (see image, right) – are helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
Mother and child doing crafts
  • Move your body – this releases tension and endorphins. Walk, run, exercise, stretch. Whatever it takes to engage your body!
Deep breathing graphic explaining to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and breathe out for 4 seconds

Since this holiday season looks a lot different, make it whatever you wish: be creative, relax and enjoy! Happy holidays.