Originally published on December 15, 2020.
I was at a bit of a loss about what to write about this week, but Jessica suggested the holidays, a topic I imagine is on the minds of many people.
It goes without saying that these holidays will be very different, and not necessarily for the better. COVID aside, this time of year is often a time of reflection and reminiscing, which can be difficult for some. It may bring up memories of loved ones who have passed on, childhood traumas, or feelings of loneliness. People often have their own ways of regulating during these times: they spend time with friends or family, decorate their homes, go away for the holidays, or splurge on gifts. But with the pandemic, many of these options are no longer available. And even if they are, it might not feel like the same.
These feelings can often be compared to grief. If someone’s loved one passes away, you expect them to be sad. You expect them to cry. In fact, their sorrow may even bring you to tears because you feel their pain; it may be a pain that you’ve felt before. Grief is a natural human response to loss, and not just the loss of someone you love. In the case of the holidays, many of us are grieving over the things we can no longer do or the people we can no longer see. Isn’t it natural that we probably won’t feel like ourselves?
Some people may find ways to maintain a positive outlook or distract themselves. Yes, the situation could be worse. Yes, we’re lucky to be alive and healthy. Yes, we can (hopefully) celebrate next year. But all of this doesn’t change the fact that the current situation is shit, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. Changing one’s perspective or thinking positively isn’t always possible for some. Like I said in my last post, it’s important to normalize all feelings.
Maybe decorating your home won’t bring you any happiness or joy like it used to. Maybe it will end up making you feel worse. That being said, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to try different things to help yourself cope or regulate. Throw on a holiday movie. Play some games with your friends over Zoom. If it helps in some way, great. And if not, that’s okay too. Don’t force it.
Mindfulness plays a crucial role in helping you regulate. If you meditate, it’s something that you…