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7 Mindful Techniques to Cope with the Holidays Being Different This Year

A woman looking at her smartphone, waiting to video chat with family over the holidays.

The abnormality of this holiday season is unavoidable, and this can create discomfort, anxiety, sadness, and overall negative feelings. Here are seven mindful techniques that can help you cope.

Find a New Way to Be Grateful

Feeling grateful might seem impossible when you can’t see your loved ones on Christmas this year. Still, try to focus on the little things and find a new way to be grateful for them.

For example, thanks to modern technology, you can still see and talk to your loved ones on a screen this year, even if you can’t do so in person. Also, you won’t have to run around and do a ton of last-minute shopping or other holiday-related tasks.

Instead, you’ll likely have more moments for relaxation and self-care, or just the opportunity to have a quiet, peaceful morning uninterrupted by relatives staying in your home.

It’s important to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. Plus, while the holidays can be fun, they’re also filled with a lot of headache-inducing stress. It’s okay to admit that you don’t miss the more negative aspects—we won’t judge!

Spend More Time in Self-Reflection

If you love making New Year’s resolutions and are determined to make some changes come Jan. 1, use this time wisely. Instead of feeling down because you don’t have a house full of people, spend some more time on self-reflection and growth.

Figure out what you want more or less of in your life. Decide which behaviors you’re done with, and which you have a new appreciation for. What’s worth fighting for? What have you outgrown?

Instead of browsing Netflix, try browsing your emotions and thoughts. Put pen to paper if you feel like it, and spend some time with yourself. You deserve it!

Nourish Your Mental and Physical Health

Woman doing yoga on hardwood floor and lights.
Karla Tafra / LifeSavvy

To really lessen the impact of how different this year’s holidays will look like, it’s important to stay on top of your mental and physical health. You can do this by engaging in activities that nourish both.

From exercising and preparing nutritious meals, to taking long baths or sleeping in, there are plenty of ways you can take care of your body and mind. Anything that lowers your stress levels and sends negative thoughts far away is a good idea.

It’s too easy to neglect the activities that help us stay healthy and thriving when we’re busy worrying about our loved ones or feeling miserable because we didn’t do things differently. That’s exactly why it helps to shift your focus to the things you can do for yourself.

Create a New Holiday Tradition

Your usual holiday traditions might be hard to re-create this year, so use this opportunity to create some new ones. Think about how many times you’ve had a great idea, but had to skip it because of something you already had on your holiday schedule.

Now’s the time to indulge your thoughts and ideas and do whatever comes to your mind:

  • Want to listen to Mariah Carey and Wham! on repeat? No one can stop you.
  • Want to skip the tree decorating this year? We don’t see why not.
  • Dream of having pizza for Christmas dinner? We might do the same!
  • Feel like binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies? Get cozy in front of the TV!

Change things up this year and do whatever your heart desires.

Do More of the Things You Can Do

Take advantage of those activities you enjoy doing on the regular. Give yourself permission to do them even more often.

If playing video games makes you happy, buy yourself some new ones as a Christmas gift. If cooking elaborate meals or exploring different cuisines melts the stress away, get some new cookbooks or browse food blogs.

Love watching old movies? Enjoy some movie nights with buckets of popcorn and absolutely zero guilt. It’s time to make yourself happy!

Engage in Family Activities Over Video Chat

Grandparents waving to their children and grand children
Studio Romantic/Shutterstock

Just because the holidays will be a bit different this year doesn’t mean you have to lose all the festivities and family activities. They might not be in the same setting, but that’s no reason to abandon them altogether.

Set up a Zoom call during Christmas dinner. Make everyone feel included by sharing stories and doing your usual routines. You can even ask uncle Frank to “Pass the green beans.” It will have a tremendous effect on everyone’s mood.

Remember, as hard as it is for you, your family and friends likely all feel the same. You can only cope successfully if you’re mindful of how they’re feeling. Cut everyone some slack if they seem a bit more stressed than usual.

Focus on Reconnecting

The real purpose of the holidays is celebration. We celebrate that we’ve made it through another year, that we have friends and family, and all the other good things in our lives. And what better year to focus on exactly that than this one?

While it’s awesome that we can send gifts with ease (overnight and even wrapped), the real precious commodity in 2020 is time and interpersonal connections. Take a moment or two to make sure the people you love know how much they mean to you. Do whatever you can to bring a smile to their face, even if it’s through a screen.

Between the overall stress of this year and having to navigate the holidays in a new way, this season is the perfect time to implement some new self-care techniques. Be sure to carry them on in 2021 and beyond!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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