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Finding Joy During a Challenging Holiday Season

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Andrew L. Martin, PsyD

When 2020 began, none of us predicted how it would unfold, into months of a worldwide pandemic that has turned our work lives and our social relationships upside down. Most of us are experiencing pandemic fatigue, tired of being restricted in our movement, activity, and in who we can see, touch, hug and kiss.  We may face the loss of our livelihoods due to our businesses being shut down, or our jobs being taken away.  Our children are suffering because they can’t go to school, see their friends, interact with their classmates or learn as they normally do.  So how do we find joy and happiness in the holidays this year amid so many challenges?

Focus on the positive

You’ve heard it before – because it works!   Practice gratitude for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.  This is especially important to do as a family.  Sit around the dinner table and have everyone tell at least one thing that they are grateful for.  If you do it for the rest of the month of December, it can have a meaningful impact on your family’s outlook on life in a short period of time.

Do Something Kind for Someone You Don’t Know

It is really easy to do something nice for people you love, but how about doing something for a person you don’t know?  See a lady struggling with her kids at the grocery store who looks like she’s going to cry?  Buy her groceries.  Take that money you were going to spend on your mocha latte Frappuccino today and put it in the Salvation Army bucket.  Rake your neighbor’s leaves, just because.  Send a pizza to your neighborhood first responders.

Revive Family Holiday Traditions

Did you love making a special holiday treat as a kid?  Remember what you loved and do it with your family. Bake cookies, make special foods, sing carols, watch holiday movies, snuggle up with hot cocoa by the fireplace and read a story.  However you celebrate this month, make it yours and your family’s holiday.  Go all out.  Learn the history and traditions.   Let it begin with you and see what a difference it makes for your family this year.

Remember – this will end!

We’ve been dealing with Coronavirus for almost a year now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Although we are headed into winter, we have learned a lot about the virus and more of those who become ill are bouncing back and avoiding hospitalization.   The great majority of people are showing care for their neighbors and the larger community by wearing masks and physically distancing.  We have several vaccines headed our way and hopefully most of the population will develop immunity by the end of 2021.  So take heart, and look forward to a better, happier and much healthier 2021! 

Make an appointment with Dr. Martin or another OSC provider by clicking the “Request Appointment” button below or by calling (757) 596-1900.  

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