The holidays can be some of the happiest times of the year... but they can also be some of the most stressful. This year especially has a number of new challenges surrounding the holiday season. In addition to the pressure of gathering family and friends, the financial burden of a long gift list, and the over-commercialization of in-your-face holiday ads and movies, we also have to consider...COVID-19. You may have experienced a reoccurring storm of emotions that started brewing back around Halloween. What will this year's holiday season bring about for us? If thoughts about the upcoming season are only bringing anxiety for you, read below on how to have a cool, calm, and safe holiday season this year.
3 Holiday COVID-19 Tips
1.) Limit the Guest List & the Level of Contact
While this may seem difficult, it’s incredibly important to keep our gatherings small this year for the sake of our friends, our family, and our children. Now is not the time to absentmindedly nod along to CDC suggestions or dismiss them altogether. Determine what is truly worth the risk and move forward from there; that being said, make sure to think about the health and safety of your family long-term. While getting tested before gatherings may mitigate risks, we should all still use precautions like frequent hand washing, social distancing, and wearing masks whenever possible. It is human nature to want to hug and show physical affection to our loved ones, but try your best to limit that this year. You can still show your love and admiration from a far. Have one masked person who has thoroughly cleaned their hands dish out all the food; family style meals where everyone is grabbing and passing all at once is not the best option for the 2020 holiday season if you are meeting up with more than your current household members. While eating outside is suggested, the weather may not permit this, so open windows and maintain distance from one another when you can.
2.) Try Video & Phone Calls
Calling or video chatting with loved ones, especially those who are high risk, will help raise spirits this year. Set up an iPad, phone, or computer at the table to have some virtual guests. If this isn’t feasible or feels too strange then make sure to check in with a simple text, email, or card to let others know you are thinking of them.You can even set up some online games to play together that allow for social distancing or for multiple online players. Look on the bright side, it will definitely be easier to limit interactions with those family members who you don’t always get along with!
3.) Gift Ideas
While you may not be giving as many gifts in person this year, you are most likely still thinking about what you should be getting others...
Shop Small & Shop Local
Ordering holiday gifts online will be a huge to-do list item this year, but remember to shop small and shop local whenever possible. While Amazon and other big name companies can offer competitive prices and convenience, there are plenty of smaller businesses near you that offer online shops and /or easy shipping or pickup options! Be a friend to small businesses (who have taken quite a financial hit this year) and give a gift that is much more meaningful.
DIY (Do It Yourself Gift)
For those of us who have more time to ourselves at home, why not make a homemade gift and ship it this year! I myself am making homemade candles and bath bombs for my loved ones. Again, try to find materials from small, local businesses or get creative with materials you already have. These gifts are often much more affordable and can be pretty simple to put together depending on what you choose to make. Heartfelt letters, poems, or cards also always makes people feel special.
Service or Experience
If you are looking for a more memorable, eco-friendly option this year, I suggest looking into experience-based gifts. Try buying a service, a subscription, a gift certificate, or an online membership for someone this year. There are all sorts of specials and packages that businesses are offering throughout the holiday season so don't forget to be on the lookout or inquire! Check out our SERVICES page for holistic holiday gift/gift certificate ideas.
Immune Boosting & Self Care Themed Gifts
Everyone is looking to improve their health and decrease their stress, especially in today's climate! Giving care packages or products that improve physical, mental, and/or emotional health is a win-win for everyone. If you're looking for high quality, immune boosting supplements or self care themed gifts check out our ONLINE SHOP!
3 Holiday Mindset Tips
1.) Manage Expectations
This holiday season most likely will be different than other seasons. Don’t set unreasonably high standards of normalcy. Be aware of upcoming changes and try to roll with them the best you can. Many of us too often set such high expectations for the holidays, which can lead to a lot of let down and disappointment. This is not to say you will not have a wonderful time this year, but be aware of potential changes in setting, vibe, and people. These times have been hard on many of us, be gentle and nonjudgemental with others and with yourself.
2.) Keep Comparison To A Minimum
The insatiable effort to "keep up with the Joneses" is never in your best interest. Don't fall into the mentality of using other peoples' achievements and material wealth as a benchmark for what you think you should have. Comparing yourself to others is often inevitable, but try your best to focus on what YOU have and what YOU are grateful for. While social media can be a great way to connect and to share resources, be sure to limit your time on social media platforms for your own sanity. Now is not the time to be comparing your holiday plans and festivities to others. Instead, grab onto those gratitude practices like journaling or making weekly lists about what you are thankful for.
3.) Deep Breaths
If you begin to feel overwhelmed by the holiday season, remember to use your breath to hack into your nervous system and relax yourself. Using the breath is a powerful tool that will calm your racing mind and bring you back to the present moment. Try to take deep, conscious breaths into the belly, allowing the belly to expand outward with every inhale and come back into the body as you exhale. Remember these times are only temporary, as are your feelings of overwhelm. Focus on the good parts of this holiday season and work to let the rest roll off of your back!
Have a Happy & Safe Holiday Season Everyone!
Written by Michelle Eggink, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner,
Meditation & Mindfulness Teacher