Resilience Tip: Holidays in the COVID-19 Era

Featuring Dr. Alyson VanAhn, Associated Clinic of Psychology

You might have a familiar feeling during the holiday season: some feel excited, others may dread it, some are ambivalent, and others feel a mix of everything. Whatever your usual, this year brings new challenges as we all face the holidays without our typical freedom to celebrate (or avoid celebration) as we see fit.

As team members and families, we are missing traditions (like meals together, holiday gatherings or games). We may also feel extra financial concern beyond what we normally experience, or our health may be more fragile.

Today, it’s important to know that you and your team members may be experiencing strain at holiday time. Like grief, it may come in the form of sadness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety or many other emotions. It also can come with some positive things, depending on where you focus your attention.

Bouncing back during the holidays AND a pandemic is possible. Keep up your self care strategies and/or think about incorporating one of these:

  1. Reflect on what you are relieved to be missing this year…maybe you won’t have to rush between gatherings, for example. 
  2. Take a moment to focus on people who seem excited (children are good for this). Soak up some of their excitement, praise them for it and smile with them.
  3. What’s one tradition you can save in your personal and work life? Even if you have to adapt it for safety during COVID-19, it’s worth it! Routines can help everyone feel more “normal” during this stressful time.
  4. Focus on gratitude. Instead of attending to all that is NOT possible or the same, try to find a thing or two that you are thankful for. Prompt the team to do the same. Maybe you’ll mention some nice things about each other!

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