Managing A New Kind Of Holiday Stress

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This post was made in partnership with Depend® brand. All opinions are my own.

A cup of tea sitting on top of a December 2020 calendar filled out with all of the activities of the month next to three colored pensWhile the holidays are something that many of us look forward to each year, they often come with their own kind of stress. Where will you seat everybody for dinner? How are we going to balance visiting all of the families in one day? How are we doing to make sure that there is something for everyone to eat with all of these dietary restrictions? 

This year is different. With covid sweeping the nation again, this holiday season is going to be different from any that we’ve experienced before. While we won’t have to worry about what to serve a crowd for dinner any longer, there is another stress – a new kind of stress. This year we have to struggle with the guilt of not seeing people outside our households or hugging them, not making grandma her favorite holiday dish, the loneliness of being by yourself or only with the people in your household, and the stress related to the fears that you might have about what is happening around you. 

With all of this discomfort though, there are ways to manage. Here are some things to consider when trying to manage your stress. 

Every Day Won’t Be The Best Day

This time is difficult. There has never been a time in history where people have experienced what we are experiencing. Even during past pandemics, society and social norms were different. They had stresses that we can’t understand and we are dealing with a constant barrage of news and social media among many other things unique to this time period. I promise you, all of that is getting in the way of your internal peace. 

It is okay to not expect yourself to have a good day every day. At this present time, that is likely not possible. We have been managing these difficulties for eight months now, many of us hoping that the holidays would be different. It is okay to be sad about that. It is okay to take days here or there to do nothing (or as close to not being as productive as possible) and try to recover.  Otherwise, your expectations of yourself are too high. Allow yourself to have that sadness and own it. It is the only way to get through to the other (more positive) emotional side. 

Focus on the Positives

Once you have had your down days (and this will happen every few days or weeks, so don’t let this worry you. If you find that you are not coming out of your funk, please contact your doctor or therapist for assistance), it is very important to focus on the positives. Think about the people who love you and those you love. Find a new television show that you and your extended family all agree to watch and discuss over Zoom holiday dinner. Maybe everyone can buy the same holiday music to play in the background to set a similar stage. 

Ask yourself the questions that you may not always think of in regards to traditions. Did you have a good holiday season last year? What did you like about it? What can you recreate this year in a different way? Is there a particular story that is told or a song you always sing as a group? Everything doesn’t have to change, you just have to be creative in order to make some of it happen. This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation! 

In my family, we always pick names out of a hat at Thanksgiving in order to know which adult we’re buying a holiday gift for that year. This year we plan to meet on Zoom and we will figure it out! If we can’t figure out how to keep our choices a secret, my family members can just be actively scared and amused that I picked their name for the entire month they know about it. That could even make it more fun! (For me at least!) 

Stay In Contact

Whether you are social distancing in a home by yourself or with your immediate family, it is important to bring other people into that circle, if only digitally. Video chat with your friends and family while you are cooking. You don’t need to be in active conversation, just let the video run. Have a conversation while you’re cutting onions and they’re cutting up food for the baby. It really doesn’t matter what you are doing, it is about creating that feeling of being together in the kitchen. 

While you are having these moments, make sure that you are prepared in all of the ways necessary for you. If you manage incontinence, make sure that you have your Depend Silhouette Underwear already in your cabinet so that you don’t have to break up these wonderful moments. 

Plan to see your loved ones digitally during the holiday or the days right around it. It is safest for us to stay home right now, but that doesn’t have to mean being isolated and alone. Keep in touch with your loved ones on and around the holidays! When was the last time you could have a holiday dinner that included people from all over the world at once? Maybe there’s a hint of a silver lining that your relatives in India, Kenya, Australia and Israel can pop into your dinner. 

This Is Temporary

While this different kind of holiday stress may be overwhelming, it is important to remember that it is temporary. Whether things get better by next holiday season or the one after, this will not be forever. It really, truly won’t. This is a situation that will test your resolve and exhaust you, but you will get through this. 

Keep your chin up, my friends. We are all tired and managing the best we can, but there are things that we can do to make the days a little lighter and have things to look forward to. This new kind of stress won’t be here forever and one day not too long from now, you’ll be looking back on this time and proud of yourself for how you made it through. 

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