No Bah Humbugs
No Bah Humbugs
While many of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends over the holidays, many people aren’t. Many people who are used to traveling to relatives (or having their relatives come to them) won’t be able to do that this year. This year more than ever, the holidays have the potential to be lonely.
Here are some tips to help combat any feelings of isolation and loneliness that this holiday season may bring.
Keep communication flowing. Utilize the technology that’s available. If you’ve been making regular phone or video calls with isolated friends and family, keep it up! If you need to go to the store or run some errands, or even if you just want to get some fresh air and go for a walk, take them with you. Or schedule a time to play Words with Friends or play a game over Zoom. Spending just 10 or 15 minutes talking to a loved one can brighten their day.
Make the holidays virtual. Consider doing a virtual Thanksgiving dinner or holiday cocktail hour. Maybe you all make the same meal or open a bottle at the same time while on a video call together, or maybe you call after opening your gifts or after the holiday meal. Just because you aren’t celebrating the occasion in the same place doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate together.
Send a surprise. After all, who doesn’t like surprises? Write a letter to your loved one expressing how important they are to you or send a holiday card with pictures you’ve taken over the last year. Maybe finish that family recipe book you’ve always talked about and send out copies to everyone just in time for the holidays.
Watch for warning signs. Isolation can lead to loneliness which in turn can lead to depression. This can be seen in a loss or increase in appetite, an increase in drinking alcohol, insomnia or hypersomnia, a lack of interest in their usual routine activities, or a change in personal hygiene. If you notice these signs in a friend or family member, raise your concerns with them and offer to make an appointment for them with their doctor. On the flip side, watch your own actions and behaviors, and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone if you think you need help.
Be realistic. The holidays won’t be the same as last year and they certainly won’t be Norman Rockwell perfect. As families, friends and the times change, our traditions and rituals change, too. Pick a few meaningful rituals to keep – like traditional desserts or gathering times – and be open to making new ones.
It’s okay to dread the upcoming holiday season, but the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We’re all in the same boat navigating uncharted waters, and as long as we remember we’re all in this together, we can still make these holidays memorable. Just sayin’.