1The Coronavirus pandemic has turned our lives upside down, inside out, and backwards. We have all been forced to change our ways of being to adapt, and some changes have been easier to make than others. With the holiday season approaching, we’re going to have to make even more changes to celebrate safely with our loved ones.

Through the changes, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that it is normal and expected to experience feelings of grief and sadness.

Grief can be experienced in a number of ways, but the grief that COVID-19 has brought about can be described as complicated and collective. Many people are feeling the loss of the way their lives were before the pandemic, and there is no end in sight for when life will return to “normal.” Mourning the loss of the way life combined with the uncertainty of when pandemic life will end can be a very difficult weight to carry, but it is absolutely normal to grief and experience sadness due to these factors.

Our support systems can be impacted, as we may not be able to spend time with our loved ones as we normally would if we were experiencing hardship. The wonderful world of technology has made it easier to stay connected, but the connection that in-person contact fosters just can’t be found through technology.

So, what do we do now that the holidays are coming up and we’re longing for connection? We acknowledge differences in connection and we adjust. Holiday celebrations are going to look different for us this year, but we can still make the best of what we have. Here are some tips to help you through the holiday season:

  • Manage expectations: Determine what is most important for you during the holiday season. Whether it’s spending time with family (virtually or limited in-person contact) or being present in the moment, identify one or two things that will be most meaningful for you to engage in.
  • Practice mindfulness: Do your best to identify what you’re feeling in the moment, whether it’s grief, sadness, or anything else. Allow yourself the space to sit with your feelings.
  • Make time to decompress: Practice breathing exercises, guided meditation or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your mind and body.
  • Reach out for help: If you are experiencing feelings of grief through the holiday season, get in touch with loved ones and garner support.
  • Contact Capital EAP to schedule a counseling session.

Here is a helpful breathing exercise YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXItOY0sLRY

To learn more about grief as it relates to COVID-19, check out the article below:

For more helpful tips about coping with holiday stress and COVID-19, check out the link below:

By: Kristi Zalinka, MHC Intern