New Holiday Traditions in the Pandemic Era

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As leaves began to fall, many of us subconsciously and habitually began to plan for the holidays. The traditions, the food, the gifts, the decorating, and the gatherings. Often, we focus on the meaning of our holidays and traditions only when we fall exhausted into the holiday world we endeavored to create. This year? Well, COVID. How do we cope and perhaps even thrive?

Since everything is upside down this year, let’s flip it. Begin with reflection on the meaning of the holidays for you and how to support it.

Holiday stress arises from intertwined triggers: financial, relationship, physical, and others. This year, all are overshadowed by the reality of the world we live in, the pandemic, economic factors, and social justice issues. Be mindful of the goals we hope to reach; tasks and decisions may more easily fall into place.

Financial.

Setting and heeding a holiday budget is already a challenge. Now circumstances for you and those in your circle have changed. Some may hide that they are struggling. Focusing on gifts for children, encouraging children to choose a charity, and family/friend agreements to limit or eliminate gifts or donate can reduce the stress of uncertainty and give everyone a break. What can your dollars most meaningfully support?

Relationships.

Too many of us have lost someone. How will you honor that person in your traditions? Sometimes a large source of holiday stress is spending time with people you would rather not see, especially in an election year. The pandemic allows us to reduce that. But the loss of connection and togetherness is hard, and people don’t always know what is safe. CDC guidelines are at www.cdc.gov – enter “holidays” in the search box.

Physical.

We will share fewer sumptuous meals and holiday treats this year, and our health may be better for it. The fact is, many of us burn the candle at both ends — it’s a status symbol to be busy, and sometimes we drink too much. What is meaningful to you about holiday food? Can you make cookies with someone over a virtual platform?

Take time to reflect on what truly matters. Setting holiday priorities brings a healthier perspective and reduces stress. Self-help strategies can work wonders, but sometimes more help is needed. Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers is free, confidential, and available 24/7.

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