8 Ways to Cope If You Can't See Family and Friends This Holiday Season
The start of this new decade has been full of anxiety, stress, frustration, confusion, fear, and disappointments. For many people, it's meant losing a job—or a loved one. For others, it's forced them to make difficult decisions about significant life events, like canceling their wedding or giving birth alone. No matter how the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine inconsistencies, and never-ending variants have impacted your life, it's safe to say that everyone has experienced a lack of celebrations lately, with virtual birthday parties, vow exchanges, and graduations often taking the place of in-person gatherings.
As we enter a much-anticipated holiday season, many people may feel emotional. After all, what will the holidays be like if you still can't see your family face-to-face? Or if you can't meet friends for an annual holiday gift exchange or happy hour? Many are still anxious about gathering, especially those who are older or immunocompromised. Others remain hesitant to get vaccinated. News of new variants keeps upending any chance for an optimistic outlook on things. And with CDC guidelines encouraging people to avoid holiday travel and large gatherings without proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 tests, there's a chance your holidays won't look quite like you'd typically expect.
It's normal to feel disenchanted and flat-out sad about Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's Eve when there's a chance you won't be able to spend it with the larger circle of people near and dear to you. While psychologists say those feelings are normal and expected, it's also essential to find coping strategies. We spoke with experts on their best advice for feeling connected and remaining positive during the holiday season.