Since the start of the pandemic, we have found ourselves constantly shifting to what many have described as a “new normal”. It’s been an exhausting journey, to say the least. The intense and prolonged stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. We have found ourselves constantly adjusting and readjusting due to all of this uncertainty.
Holidays are stressful enough in a “normal” year, but now many of us find ourselves entering this holiday season with little bandwidth to spare. COVID fatigue is hitting us hard. We are tired of the restrictions. Tired of the uncertainty. Tired of the “new normal”. Unfortunately, the pandemic isn’t over yet. We need to keep working on our coping skills to help us manage all of this stress so that we can enjoy the holidays, even if they don’t look the way they have in years past.
Exercise and practicing mindfulness are two things that we all can do to help us build resiliency and manage stress more effectively. Even a short walk can release endorphins and help us de-stress. Mindfulness teaches us to be in the present and not get caught up in all the worry and what-ifs about the future. Scientific studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness in reducing stress, anxiety, depression and somatic distress. We introduced Friday morning mindfulness virtual sessions for this very reason.
What does all of this have to do with the holidays, you ask? Making decisions seems even more exhausting right now and there are no easy answers, but when we are calm and grounded, we can approach things with a better perspective. We can recognize the things we have control over and the things that we don’t.
Some other tips to help you through the holidays this year:
Establish your ground rules early. If you are planning to get together, make sure everyone is on the same page. Have conversations with family and friends. Discuss activities and risks. If some family members decide to opt-out because the risk for them is too great, respect their decisions. Your best bet is to keep things small and limit gatherings to people in your “bubble”.
If you are going to see people outside of your immediate household or your bubble, consider quarantining for 14 days prior.
Be flexible. Be creative. Things can change with short notice if there is a sudden spike in cases or someone has to quarantine due to exposure or worse yet, due to a positive test.
Check out the following guidelines around holiday gatherings:
CDC: Daily life – Holidays
Remember — Self-care. Self-care. Selfcare. Just because we are experiencing COVID fatigue doesn’t mean we should be letting things slip.
To join our Friday mindfulness sessions or to set something up specific to your organization, contact Jane Zwier at firstname.lastname@example.org