Hot Chocolate and Popcorn by a Cosy Fire

Coping with Holiday Pressures

At Christmas there can be a lot of pressure to be cheerful and festive, regardless of how we feel. This can be a hard time of the year and Covid-19 has brought new challenges.

Here are a few suggestions for coping during the holiday season:

Adapt Traditions

The holiday season can be comforting because traditions let us know what to expect. This year it may not be possible to participate in all of our usual traditions. it’s a good idea to try and incorporate them into your celebrations in some way.

Watch a Christmas Film

If your family loves to watch a Christmas Film together, try organising a Netflix Watch Party so that you can still enjoy it together even if you are in different locations.

A Different Kind of Christmas Show

If you usually love to attend a panto, The Pavilion is showing Santa Claus Is Coming To Town from 24th of December until January 4th. Tickets are free with donations encouraged.

Alternatively, you may find a drive-in Panto

Stay in Touch

Physical distancing measures can be lonely or isolating. While it may be hard to find the energy to reach out, it is important to try and keep in touch. Here are a few ideas that might motivate you to make plans:

A letter in a red envelope saying "'Tis the season"

Send Hand-Written Cards or Care Packages

Many people have been reviving the dying tradition of card and letter writing this year. The Scottish Government’s One Million Words of Kindness campaign was a great example this year.

Everyone loves to receive mail and taking a little time to handwrite a card or send something you have crafted can be a meaningful way to connect during the holidays. It’s a screen-free activity and, in a year where exchanging gifts may not be feasible, this can be a lovely way to connect.

Family Cook Along

If your family has special holiday foods or a secret recipe, maybe it’s time everyone is taught. By sharing recipes and cooking together through Zoom, you can make sure everyone has access to their traditional holiday foods even if you can’t all celebrate in the same house.

Have Realistic “on-the-day” Expectations 

Some of us will be opting for a partial Zoom Christmas with those we can’t be with. It may be tempting to try and re-enact your usual celebrations over zoom but that can create a lot of screen fatigue and ultimately won’t live up to what you’re accustomed to. Here are some ideas for making Christmas day a bit more manageable:

Family Chat Thread

Start a thread for family members you usually celebrate with and share photos of your decorations and celebrations on the day. This means there is no pressure to reply on the spot and  people can engage when they can.

Keep Celebration Time Flexible

For those you are isolating with, it can be helpful to keep the stakes low and pressure free. This is especially true where Zoom is concerned – it may be a good idea to have a set time to talk, as opposed to feeling the pressure to interact all day long. Having a clear time set out can help no one feels overwhelmed.

General Well Being

You may have found coping methods that are right for you  over the course of this year. Many people have turned to journaling, cooking, yoga and mindfulness. Others have found a regular catch up with a friend or family member an important part of their routine. Although Christmas is often a time we take a ‘break’ from our usual habits, it is actually a great idea to keep up some of the things have kept your mental health afloat.


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