This year, in the lead up to the holiday season, I’ve been noticing two very different responses to the challenges that Covid-19 has brought. Many people are opting for a more low-key holiday period, foregoing large get togethers, Christmas parties, and holiday decorating. Others are going all out in a show of defiance that a global pandemic won’t ruin the holidays, doubling down on the festive spirit in an effort to make the season even more spectacular than ever. Certainly, in my neighborhood, I’ve noticed people’s decorations have been extra elaborate this year, and my social media newsfeed has been flooded with pictures of immaculately decorated trees and mountains of gifts, all beautifully wrapped under them. Personally, I’m opting for the low-key approach and I’m encouraging others to do the same.
This “most wonderful time of the year” is one of the most stressful periods of the year under normal circumstances. Often, as a therapist, I’ve witnessed clients struggling to pretend that all is well in an effort to maintain the illusion that the holidays is a magical time. The reality is that for most people, the rush to fulfil the commercial expectations of the holiday season with the gift buying and wrapping, holiday card mailing, seasonal decorations, and producing baked goods for exchange are added pressures in an already hectic schedule. Not to mention the stresses and strains of family dynamics in general, swallowing down feelings in a bid to keep the holidays peaceful. This year, when we add the explosive cocktail of a global pandemic, I’m witnessing an unprecedented level of stress and anxiety about the holidays. So, I’m encouraging a low-key approach as a way of self-care.
Now, is the time for you to take a breath. This trip around the sun in 2020 has been a memorable one for sure. Celebrate your resilience. Recognize your growth. Grieve your losses. Acknowledge your sacrifices. Let go of what no longer serves you. In doing so, perhaps you can ease into a well-earned restful time this year, find joy in connection, and peace and love within.
Wishing you all a season of love and hope for a joyous New Year!