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How to Feel Renewed for the Holidays During a Pandemic

2020 was not what anyone expected. Large plans were largely swept away by a massive pandemic. Family time, which used to be a commodity sought out for, is now a commonplace. Going out, meeting up with friends and family, traveling, work trips, and vacations that used to be norms, are no longer.

And the COVID fatigue. Feeling tired of not being able to do what you want. Staying indoors, social distancing, families impacted by being furloughed, virtual learning and virtual work for the whole family for those who can virtually work, and for those with essential jobs that need to be in person and masked up, all feels exhausting. Depression and anxiety hover, waiting to overtake you, wanting to goad you into decreased motivation and apathy. That feeling of stuck—where you want to do everything, and may find it difficult defining what “everything” means to you, because “everything” means life as it was prior to the pandemic.

And then enters the holiday season and more dysphoria hangs in the air. The pandemic still rages. A new strand of the virus developed. A possible cure in the air looms in the distance. Feeling trapped indoors is imminent. How do we make this year’s holiday season different from the last ten months? Normally, you look forward to holiday time, because you get to spend time with your family. But this year, you may not be able to see your extended family, and the family members you are seeing—you see every day. The time no longer feels sacred.

To change the way you feel about the pandemic comes with intentionality. Being intentional means purposely changing the way you engage with your daily life and infusing purpose and meaning to enhance your actions and activities. How do we make this a reality? Here are a few suggestions.

You can start with orienting yourself with hopes and goals for 2021. Making a holiday capsule with your loved ones, or even one just for yourself, of goals you have for the upcoming year and finding the capsule next holiday helps increase purpose, intentionality, and hope for the upcoming year.

Game time can be an effective way of spending time with the people about whom you care. Finding in-person games, such as pictionary, charades, taboo and scattegories, that are transferable to also do online, might be a nice alternative to doing solely virtual games and allow you to feel slightly closer to “normal,” even with the virtual platform. Murder mysteries and escape the rooms are also good options for engaging with loved ones.

Movie party watches through various streaming options, where you can watch tv shows and movies in real time across the internet, are great ways of sharing time with people about whom you care. Perhaps change it up and do a zoom or google hangout while watching the movie to feel more connected to people. More movie streaming services are adding new entertainment material every week, recognizing people’s need for something different. You can even watch Broadways shows and do virtual tours of museums to get a taste of the arts.

Change your setting. Decorate your house differently. Add special lights, sound effects, candles. Decorating can be low budget, but still gets you going and makes the home feel a little different. Build a fort, have a backyard camp out, if you have a fire pit—have a backyard s’mores event and campfire bonding.

Imbuing intentionality into your daily life is foundational in finding meaning and purpose during this time. These are hard times in which we live, and when you add a little bit of intentionality into your daily life, it can be a tool in boosting your spirit and providing a little hope and light.

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