We all know it is supposed to be a time of joy, being together, making memories, laughter, baking (Publix commercials) parties, lights, presents…and so much more. But…and this is a big but, it is rarely like a scene from Currier and Ives.
The fact is that Holiday time can be difficult for many people, for many reasons and especially in 2020. As much as we would like to feel close and get along with our families, many times we do not. As we age, we deal with more loss. This year, the pandemic has changed even the way we celebrate our holidays and families cannot get together as usual. So how can we help ourselves enjoy the best the season has to offer? Here are some ideas.
Notice and handle your expectations:
Our disappointment often comes because reality does not live up to the expectations we have created. Could this really be there a year that Aunt June doesn’t criticize your cooking after 30 years? Not likely. So, look at your expectations and bring them down a notch or more. Then if this is the year Aunt June gives you a compliment, you will genuinely enjoy it. This includes your expectations for yourself, others, and events.
Focus on the things that go well:
You cannot control others or what happens. Things will go wrong. But you can direct your mind to what makes you feel good! Find activities that lift you. Watch your favorite movies while you decorate your tree, write a card, call a friend, read a favorite book. Enjoy the simple things.
Stay in the moment:
Sometimes remembering “how it used to be” can be lovely, and many times it can lead to sadness, depression, and anger. Try enjoying who is in your life right now for the joy they bring to your life. Make some new traditions or memories. Find reasons and ways to laugh often.
Reduce stress. Give your loved ones and yourself a break. Allow this year to be its own version of the holidays. There is no “must” except the one that we place on ourselves. Maybe you don’t need to exchange 5,000 cookies, Maybe you can re-image a way to convey your love and care that gives you time to enjoy the season. Be open to allowing something new to come into your life.
Enjoy this season of joy and love.