The holidays can be an emotionally trying experience, even during the best of times. Amidst the sequestered challenges of the pandemic the feelings of angst, loneliness and despair can be heightened ten-fold.
Instead of the typical festive holiday celebration many now view this time of year less than joyously. They remember the loss of a loved one, greatly missed at these special occasions. Young adults can feel most impacted as they fret about a broken home with parents who are no longer married and sibling rivalries as they try to keep pace with a high-achieving brother or sister. They also worry about their own values of self-worth and future prospects both professionally and personally. These feelings can be magnified as they remain isolated during the pandemic.
Here then are five positive steps young adults can take to emotionally survive the holiday season.
1. Maintain connections with friends. A close friend or two can help you relieve much of the anxiety caused by a lack of a large family gathering. Though usual meeting places such as bars and restaurants face many restrictions a get together in an outdoor location can still provide a feeling of togetherness.
Small gatherings with proper social distancing can provide the salve to soothe over any extra anxiety. In lieu of a face-to-face event, phone, text and zoom calls can be used to stay in touch with anyone whether near or far.
2. Focus on positive thoughts. Spend more time, whether in-person or online, with those who offer support and encouragement. Eliminate those whose vibe tends to be more negative. Instead of dwelling on any misfortune focus on what you do have and be thankful you have it. Recall positive memories of past holidays and enjoy those memories.
3. Participate in family celebrations, virtually. The pandemic has created the need for more events to be celebrated virtually. These include birthday parties, anniversaries and even weddings. Holiday events should be no exception. Participation enables you to take part without the levels of angst one may feel from a large in-person event. It also helps you maintain family connections and feel less isolated.
4. Take time to exercise. Brisk walks outdoors or full-scale workouts at home can help you burn off some of the negative energy you may be feeling. Several apps, from yoga to bike riding, enable you to exercise with an online group and calm the feelings of isolation. You will improve not only your spirit but your body as well, and see positive changes in your appearance.
5. Build your connection with God. The holidays are an excellent time to confirm your faith in God. Though visiting a church or synagogue can be difficult during the pandemic you can still pray. Have faith that no matter whatever personal crisis you may be feeling God will be there to help you through it. God is always with you. Remember you are never alone.