I was contacted by the Valley Sentinel to write an article on how to create a meaningful COVID holiday season. You can read the article below:
So much has happened this year. How do we embrace this holiday season and make it as meaningful as possible given the challenges we have faced?
There are 5 things we can do to make these holidays meaningful: 1) change our expectations, 2) make modifications, 3) focus on what we CAN do, what we CAN change, and what we CAN control, 4) stay within the COVID safety guidelines, and 5) take A.C.T.I.O.N.©
A.C.T.I.O.N.© is an acronym to help us create a holiday season as happy and as joyous as it can be.
A – Acceptance. What we’ve been through has been challenging, difficult and traumatic. However, we have to accept that COIVD is the way things are for now and we’re ALL being affected by it. We need to accept that the holidays are going to be different this year and we need to focus on the things we CAN change and CAN do. This could be the year we start new traditions, rituals and do all of the things we couldn’t do in the past that will make this holiday season more special and meaningful.
C – Connect with others. One of the worst things about COVID has been the isolation and loneliness it’s caused. As we enter into the holiday season what better time to connect with others and create new holiday rituals. Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. We need to reach out to them. Perhaps call family and friends, send holiday letters and cards via snail mail and email. Plan holiday social distance visits and events or virtual Facetime/Zoom for holiday happy hours or games. Post on Facebook/Instagram holiday greetings, gatherings & festivities. Participate in holiday volunteer projects. Connect with people we’ve lost touch with.
T – Take time out. Make a conscious effort every day to do something festive. Ask yourself everyday – “what can I do today for 10 minutes that would be comforting and fun”? For example, go for walks to enjoy the decorations, cut out holiday coupons, enjoy holiday flowers, meditate, listen to holiday music, take photos, go through holiday catalogues, sip hot chocolate, order gifts, decorate. These will get us into the holiday spirit and it also reminds us to do things that add joy and happiness to our day.
I – Identify the “joys” of the holidays. Make a list of all the things we can do during the holiday season that bring happiness and commit to doing 1-2 of those activities per day. Some examples are: Put up holiday decorations. Go for drives or strolls to look at holiday lights. Make gingerbread houses. Sing holiday songs, read stories, listen to music. Bake holiday goodies. Create a holiday scrapbook. Start a gratitude or holiday journal. Watch favorite holiday movies.
O – Optimistic. There is a tendency for us to focus on the things we have no control over when we’re in a crisis or a pandemic. This season gives us the opportunity to put our time and energy into the things that are positive – that make us smile, make us happy and are personally meaningful. It’s so easy for us to focus on what we’re going to be missing but there are many aspects of the season we can embrace and make our own.
N – Negativity. Reduce the amount of negativity we allow into our life. For example, limit exposure to the news, spend less time with people who are judgmental and critical. Set boundaries and say “NO” to people who may be asking too much or don’t follow the safety guidelines and put you at higher risk of getting sick. Instead, replace the negativity by providing and accepting compliments, receive and send messages of love and friendship, express your appreciation and gratitude, watch on TV or attend online spiritual services, concerts and festivities that fill your soul.
When we think of celebrating the holiday season this year, think of what Leo Buscaglia once said: “too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
As you take A.C.T.I.O.N.© …. I wish you a safe, happy and healthy Holiday Season.
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