As the big holiday season is approaching, you might have different plans from your extended family’s, maybe with more restrictions and worries especially during these hard times of Covid-19.
They might be already pressuring you about the gatherings, some are not taking Covid so seriously and don’t believe in its severity.
Here are good ways to handle this kind of family stress and how to talk about your holiday plans during the pandemic:
Don’t feel the guilt
You don’t have to feel guilty if you say no to gatherings and parties with your extended family or friends, if you have your own plans with your husband and kids you have to tell them we already planned a lovely special holiday this year and you go ahead and enjoy your vacation at peace!
Have this holiday conversation early
Have it first with your children, explain why you are keeping it small and that they can still enjoy it because you have different special plans for them.
Have it with your friends and family, tell them that you prefer to spend it with your kids at home/travel somewhere near for holidays and that you can still celebrate with them virtually!
Listen & speak
When you’re having the holiday conversation with your loved ones, make sure you actually listen to them, have empathy, validate their feelings and then say your own words while being convinced that it’s not personal, it’s for safety reasons.
Delay your big celebrations
Try to make semi plans for gatherings later after the second wave of Covid-19 is over, this way you’ll still have hope and holiday plans your big family or friends would like you to be a part of.
Plan early and choose the closest people like grandparents, sisters & brothers who live close by. Schedule video calls with the rest of relatives after having the holiday conversation with them nicely.
Come up with holiday celebration alternatives
Don’t forget it’s still a happy joyous time of the year, decorate, buy gifts (exchange with closer family and send over the ones you buy for relatives & friends) , make small Christmas/ New years eve dinner, buy new outfits for you and your little ones to wear and enjoy your holidays. You can also plan small getaways or nearby outings with being cautious and staying away from crowds.
In short, the holidays may look a bit different this year, but a cozy little holiday where no one has to be anywhere sounds nice, will bring you closer to each other and will build memories/ small family traditions that will last forever even if it’s not too festive.
Are you actually feeling a bit more unexcited/ stressed or depressed?
Holiday season also might bring in unwanted guests, stress, planning meals, buying gifts, cleaning, rearranging and entertaining, you might not have time for all this, all this stress getting things done on time with having kids, work or other responsibilities will definitely increase your holiday anxiety levels, Covid-19 has also topped up the reasons to worry and stress with the load of keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe.
How to prevent the holidays stress/depression:
1-Digest your feelings, face and deal with whatever you’ve been dealing and coping with before the season starts; you may have work related issues, family problems or any personal feelings that affects you at the moment so allow yourself to feel them and deal with them at ease, don’t force yourself to be happy and cheeky just because its the holidays!
2- Surround yourself with few people if you’re feeling lonely. Reach out for community with similar interest, social events even online support groups that might offer companionship.
3- Forget the past differences with people you know and will see again on the holidays. Embrace the holiday spirit and be nice to ALL friends and family so you decrease the stress of “how should i end the conversation” with them.
4- Plan early: schedule your cooking days with writing the menu before, the holiday shopping days, gift wrapping days..etc so you have everything ready one time without leaving anything last minute.
5- Say NO more often. Saying no to events you don’t want to attend, to people you don’t want to see, to work overtime, to projects you want to delay. It’s fine to say NO. Find a nice way to say it and do the things you want to do.
6- Make some time for yourself, 15 minutes of fresh air, an outing just for yourself, warm baths and spa time will do magical recharge to enjoy the rest of your holidays.
Take control of what you do and what you feel as much as you can and REMEMBER this is your time off to enjoy as well. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!