All of the busyness helps keep us mentally engaged and helps combat some of the emotions that arise during the year.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put a halt on most of our activities and has left ample room in our schedules for reflection. Time to process some of the hard emotions and disappointments of this year as we have more time alone.
Social isolation has made the holidays more challenging, and for some, it may increase their risk of getting the holiday blues.
People who already avoided celebrating during this season now have a legitimate reason to avoid others. While there are a few people who can thrive with minimal human contact, most of us need to spend time with others to stay emotionally healthy and happy.
Having a lot of free time alone doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There is a lot you can do to ease the discomfort of loneliness and social isolation. Instead of focusing on the challenges and what you cannot do, try to take advantage of the unique possibilities now available.
You can learn more about yourself, try out a few new hobbies, or gain a deeper appreciation of Advent and what it means to prepare for the coming of Jesus.
You’re free to explore your interests without excessive outside interference and use the time for personal restoration of the depleted areas of your life.
This year more than ever, we need to get real about what we need during the holidays. This Christmas we don’t need more gifts we won’t use. What we need are more people we can rejoice with even in the uncertainties of life.
What we need this Christmas isn’t a tidier home. What we need are more moments where we invite Jesus into the messiness of our lives.
What we need this Christmas isn’t more energy spent running to stores. What we need is more time running into the presence of God.
If you experience an emotional disappointment this holiday season, there are many things you can do to lift your mood and make it through this difficult time. Here are a few strategies to boost your spirit and get your New Year off to a great start.
1. Take advantage of the extra time you now have for yourself.
Use the time preparing for family gatherings in years past to reflect. Reflection helps you see the intersections in your life where God saw you through difficult circumstances. What testimonies of God’s faithfulness have you experienced? What aspects of your relationship with God would you like to deepen? What is Holy Spirit highlighting when you read God’s Word?
2.Think about small goals you’d like to accomplish.
Do you want to get that hall closet cleaned out finally? Maybe you can now complete that DIY or personal project. It’s a great time to make a list of all those little tasks you want to get done. Having the list will help you concentrate on your goals. Plus, it’s wonderful to draw a line through an achieved goal. Don’t see your list as a must-do list but a can-do list. You can do it or not. It’s your choice with no added pressure.
3. Focus on positive forward changes.
If 2020 has taught us nothing else, it has made it very clear that the only consistent thing is change. Life is full of changes. Some you can control, most you cannot. The way to stay resilient is to continue to make forward progress during times of change. Perhaps you want to exercise more or spend more quality time with your children. Ponder how you might go about making the changes you seek. Think of taking little steps toward your big goals.
4. Pursue an interest.
We’ve all got those interests we hope to “get to” someday. Since you’ve got some downtime now, why not go for it? Delve into that subject you’ve been curious about or start the photography class you’ve longed to take. If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, do some research. Start searching the internet, browse some websites, or check out a few books. You’ll most likely find a couple of topics or activities you want to research.
5. Have a virtual dinner party.
You’ll have plenty of time to plan and prepare for this event with your loved ones. With the ability to have groceries delivered, you can even schedule a cooking/dinner party where you do a group video call while preparing the meal! You’ll enjoy yourself, and your mood will lift.
6. Renew and refresh your surroundings.
Do you feel like re-arranging the furniture in a room or two? Maybe you want to paint the walls or make new curtains. Take out some of those pictures in your attic to frame and put on your walls. Re-decorating your surroundings is a beautiful way to go into a new year and banish the holiday blues at the same time.
7. Reconnect with an old friend.
There’s something so wonderful about making that call you’ve wanted to make. Hearing your friend’s voice again will bring great joy to your heart. It might be a friend from the old neighborhood, a former college roommate, or a former coworker. Reach out to them, and it will bless you both.
Taking some quality time for yourself during this period can lift your mood immensely and ignite your excitement about the year ahead.