Finding Hope and Strength This Holiday

Omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant to surge across nations and rapidly fill hospital beds, is causing many regions to implement stricter regulations regarding maskings, gatherings, and travel.  For many people, this holiday season will again be one of isolation and loneliness – but it can also be an opportunity for growth through finding your own hope and strength.  

Many adults, older and younger, may be having a hard time mustering feelings of joy and connection this December.  And that’s ok, it’s important to be honest with yourself and others and to give yourself permission to feel grief, sadness, or loneliness.  According to a recent Maria Shriver post, reframing loneliness as a desire for greater or deeper connection can help people alone during the holidays cope, and move forward. 

Because of COVID, we have had to make sometimes difficult choices about the people we interact with and decide if our wellness is more valuable than companionship.  This selectiveness can be viewed as a benefit, helping people step back from unhealthy relationships and focus on friendships that are mutually fulfilling and rewarding. 

Finding joy in seasonal activities is a choice, and being alone presents an opportunity to do things that will meet your own needs.  Maybe it’s baking cookies, listening to Christmas music, or watching old movies. If there are people you want to connect with during the holidays, take the initiative to reach out with a phone call or invitation for lunch. Perhaps they will find hope and strength in you taking the time to connect with them.

If you once had a spiritual connection to the season, with fewer social demands and other trappings of the holidays, this year could be a time to rekindle that deeper meaning for yourself.  Giving back with donations or volunteering during the holidays can also connect us with others, renew a sense of gratitude and help us rediscover our true values. 

If you are feeling stressed or anxious about making the holidays picture perfect, or keeping vulnerable family members safe from illness, know that you are not alone.  It’s important to make time for sleep, regular exercise, and nutritious food – even if that means scaling back on shopping, decorating, or cooking.  A woodland hike or time alone to journal or read could be a greater gift than any store-bought trinket.