Holidays 2020 Requires Planning and a lot of Honesty

121820 HolidayLonely

This year is requiring a lot of us. Changes in everything from how kids “go to school” to basic human interactions, like shaking hands, have us constantly thinking about what we’re doing, how we’re doing them and what those actions could mean to our health and the wellbeing of our loved ones. 

And now it’s the Holidays. 

We are still doing all that balancing and pivoting, but now it is in a period of time that focuses on people gathering together. In the past, it has been our social connections that have played a significant role in persevering through difficult periods. But now, with socializing significantly reduced during the pandemic, we have to tap into our creativity. Five ways to endure - and maybe thrive - during the holidays this year.

  1. Be honest. At the start of 2020, this definitely isn’t the way we thought the year would end. It’s not a lot of fun and it’s absolutely alright to be bummed out about canceled parties or feel dread about another virtual get-together. Failing to acknowledge the hard parts of this period prevent us from being able to work through those feelings. 
  2. Plan ahead, even if it’s way ahead. It can be easy to delay making hard decisions and say something like “We’ll decide how to celebrate when we see what COVID-19 case numbers are at that time.” Instead of that, go ahead and either cancel in-person get-togethers or make arrangements to gather virtually. With one COVID-19 vaccine already approved for distribution and others to be reviewed soon by the federal government, it might be fun to plan a Christmas in July party. 
  3. Start new traditions. While hosting a holiday party might not be in the cards this year, dropping off cookies or delivering a seasonal dish can help to make this period really feel like the holidays. This type of change not only provides some structure to our days and weeks this month, setting aside time for preparing and baking, but it also allows us to give a very personal gift to those we are not able to regularly see in person. 
  4. Feel the emotions. This year has been one of great loss for hundreds of thousands of people in this country and grief can be a heavy emotion, but it’s one that requires working through it instead of covering it up. This feeling, in particular, can feel like a wave -- rising up high and then falling low -- and it’s important flow along with the wave instead of fighting against it. All of that requires a lot of attention, which may leave less space for other things this season and that’s okay. The mantra of the year, after all, is “Do what you can do,” right?
  5. Get help when you need it. Taking care of your mental health is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself and those that love you. Our mental health professionals are here if the strain of the 2020 holiday season becomes too much. The team at Willow Creek Behavioral Health is a phone call away, 24/7 at (920) 328-1220 or toll free at (844) 308-5050. The team of mental health professionals there can help to determine the next steps - including setting up an in-person assessment the same day.