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Navigating the Holiday Season

While the holiday season (Halloween through New Years) generally can be a source of stress, this year is unique and different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This year has been marked by uncertainty never seen before in our history. While we certainly were not expecting the holidays to be surrounded by a pandemic; here are four things suggestions to aid in  which may be of assistance while navigating this holiday season.  

First , approach this stressor topic by recognizing that individuals possess many different thoughts and feelings on how one should respond to COVID-19.  Strive to respond with respect and understanding towards others as the holiday season approaches.  While we may have differences, showing respect towards one another is always a good standard.  

Second,  , understand your own boundaries and how those may align with, or differ from that of family members and friends.   Most individuals are familiar with CDC and stated recommendationsbut also allow space for your feelings of safety and that of others to be met.  For example, tThere might be a friend or family member in your circle who finds themselves being isolated due to fear and uncertainty of traveling during the holidays. Reach out to them, notice them, and offer them to video call into your holiday celebrations.  

Third, make a plan. With any get together, there is always planning involved. But this year, even if inconvenient, plan with Covid-19 in mind. How many people are you going to invite? Will there be a video chat option for those not comfortable with social settings? How will you serve the food? Will the typical get together size be smaller this year? Will it be at a different location this year? Once you have established a plan, make sure to communicate it to invited guests, the extra level of predictability can provide level of comfort for everyone. I also encourage you to follow your specific state regulations and to communicate that as well to your guests.  

Fourth, have a time of reflection together or separately. As this year ends, there is certainly a lot to look back on. Look back on this year and see what has been challenging  and what has been enjoyable.  Process these thoughts; talk, write, draw, or paint about them. When reflecting on your experiences this year, give equal weight to the challenging and enjoyable experiences and what you have been and are feeling; for the experiences, feelings, and you deserve honest reflection.  

Navigating the holiday ambiguity may still be a source of stress, though setting boundaries, planning, and reflecting can increase comfort and enjoyment.  Enjoy the season, be well, and we will get through this together.   

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