As we approach Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas, while coping with the surge of COVID, I am hearing over and over in my clinical sessions and from friends and family, a deep longing for what people describe as “normalcy”. It is within the human spirit to seek connection, to want to gather to celebrate with deeply held traditions during the holiday season.

Traditions anchor us, they center us, they remind us of moments shared with loved ones. Unfortunately with medical advice and science warning us of the dangers of spreading COVID, we are left with facing reality as we navigate the surge of the pandemic during the holiday season. It is both powerful and important to acknowledge our emotions and disappointments. Loneliness and sadness are very real for many, many people. Our national Mental Health data shows increasing rates of stress, anxiety and depression. I don’t think anyone really expected that we would be nine months into COVID, and dealing with the layers of weariness, uncertainty and difficulty holding on to a positive future perspective.

I have always been a fervent believer however, that we can empower ourselves to build resilience and create a positive lens one moment at a time. Fortunately we do have tools and strategies to help us “get there”.

Practice Gratitude

Mindset reset with Positive Lens and Hopeful Perspective

Compassion for ourselves, our feelings and for others

Meditation and Breath work

Accepting the need to do things differently

Reminding ourselves, this is not forever.

I am so impressed as I listen to people share their personal stories for how they are coping with the loss of holidays they remember. They describe how it will be different and how they are experimenting to change it up this year, hoping that next year will be different. One mother quoted to me, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention and that what I am doing this year as a Mother”. One family told me they will be delivering food they are all cooking in their “family pod” and delivering it to people they know are alone. Giving and doing for others always makes us feel better!

There is hope on the horizon as multiple vaccines are being introduced for approval. When I think of the sacrifices so many scientists and volunteers have made to make this possible, it immediately brings me to a place of deep gratitude.

I personally navigate one day at a time, beginning with a practice of gratitude and ending with counting my blessings. This holiday season is indeed different, we are different globally as we cope with COVID, but we can and need to embrace the power of humanity and connection.