The holiday seasons this year will be like none other in recent memory.

Instead of gathering together in-person to celebrate, we are separated. Typically the holidays are meant to be a time of consistency: participating in family traditions, reflecting on the events of the past year, exchanging gifts with others, etc.

However, this past year has been full of stress, anxiety, financial worries, and more. You might not feel like celebrating much at all. But that’s precisely why you should!

Here’s how to manage the holiday season during the pandemic.

Keeping the Traditions Alive

First, just because your whole family is not gathering together as they usually do, doesn’t mean those traditions can’t happen. They will look a little different than in past years, such as:

  • Set up the holiday tree, lights, and decorations. If there were any reason why you should go all out, this year would be it!
  • Cook the foods that you enjoy, only for fewer people. Perhaps it’s just you or your partner, or even just you. You can still have a holiday meal, but substitute a full turkey for the turkey breast.
  • Mail out the end-of-year holiday card like you usually do.

Even though your holiday traditions might look different from what they usually do this year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them.

Sharing With Others

You can still share your traditions and holidays with others. Despite the requirement to be physically distant, sharing is possible. Have a holiday meal party with your family via an online conference call. Or, share how your version of dinner turned out using a group text chat.

Here’s a radical idea, why not make a phone call to individual family or friends? It’s an excellent way to give your attention to another person and to show you care. Technology allows us to maintain a connection with others, even though we must be apart.

Tapping Into Your Creativity

Perhaps the holiday season during the pandemic has found you struggling to find a job after being let go. You still want to give a gift, but money is tight. Try tapping into your creative side, including:

  • Creating your own artwork
  • Making a DIY holiday card at home
  • Hand-writing letters (remember letters?!)
  • Recording your own version of a holiday song

You’d be surprised how, with even minimal resources, you can provide some holiday joy to those you treasure.

Getting Outside

It might be tempting this holiday season during the pandemic to curl up in a ball and stay in bed. But that isn’t very helpful when it comes to your mental health. This outcome is especially true during these dark winter months.

Instead, try to get out of the house and get some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Below freezing outside? Put on some extra layers and snow boots! Are you concerned that you might run into other people? Go to a park or visit a nature trail with a mask handy. While you’re at it, take pictures and share your experiences with others.

When You Need More Help

If, despite your best efforts, you are struggling to find any joy at all this holiday season, reach out for help. Depression treatment can be beneficial. And, it’s not unheard of for people to feel blue during this time of year, even when there isn’t a pandemic occurring. Talking to a therapist will help clear some of those cobwebs and develop ideas on making the holidays meaningful.

This holiday season during the pandemic will be one of the most challenging that we, collectively, have experienced in a very long time. It makes sense that you might be feeling a little blue — but there is hope. By making some simple adjustments and shifting your thinking a bit, you can still have a joyous holiday.

If you’re struggling with sadness or depression, please reach out to me for help or visit my page about Depression Counseling to learn more. I’m here to help.