2020 has been a tough year for so many reasons. And now, we're faced with a particularly sad end to it: Spending the holidays away from our families and friends.
With the CDC reminding people that the very best way to stay safe this holiday season is to stay home, many of us are taking their advice. And although avoiding travel and keeping our distance from relatives may be the right thing to do, it doesn't make feelings of isolation and loneliness any easier.
It also probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that anxiety and depression is at an all-time high right now, and many of us are feeling particularly gloomy at the prospect of a lonely holiday season. Luckily, there's a lot you can do to make this tough time a little easier. Here are the best therapist-approved tips.
Make a plan
We're all about planning at Silk + Sonder, so we can certainly get behind holistic psychotherapist Alison Stone's suggestion to make a plan for days that might be painful, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and any other holidays you celebrate.
"I'm not sure there is one 'best' way to spend the holidays this year, knowing that many of us are unable to be with loved ones," she admits. "But I'd suggest trying to make the most out of the current circumstances, knowing that this year might not feel as special or celebratory as it normally does."
And just because your holidays will look a little different than they usually do doesn't mean they can't be fun and festive in a different way. So make a plan for how you'll spend the upcoming days. "It might mean having a simple, cozy night in with your partner, enjoying books or movies you've been wanting to read or see, or scheduling times to FaceTime with friends and family as often as possible."
Be thoughtful in your gifting
You may not be able to give a gift in person, but sending thoughtful gifts to your friends and family is a great alternative — and can help brighten up what might be a tough holiday season for them, too.
"Sometimes sending something small but thoughtful helps us feel connected to others and able to share in their experience, even if we cannot be together in person," says Stone. "For example, perhaps your friend just moved into a new apartment. Sending a small housewarming gift shows her that you are thinking of her, even if you can't go see the apartment at this time."
Acknowledge that you feel sad
We can talk all we want about making the best of the holidays this year, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this holiday season will be really hard. So if you're feeling down as the holidays creep closer, let yourself feel that.
"It's going to be important to accept that the holidays are going to look and feel different this year, and theres really no way around that," says Stone. "Acknowledge the sadness, and give yourself permission to feel that way!"
And make sure to have some kind of social interaction, even if it's virtual. "If at all possible, do try to avoid total isolation by calling or FaceTiming with family and friends regularly. Its obviously not the same as in-person connection and contact, but it is definitely better than having zero contact with loved ones."
We know how hard this is, so please know that we're here for you as you navigate the upcoming months. Here's to finding small ways to celebrate where we can.
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