The holiday season has always brought its own challenges and stressors but with COVID-19 limiting travel, recommending separation from friends and family and altering/cancelling annual traditions, it might not only be stressful- it also might feel quite lonely.
Student Health and Wellness Counsellors Trudy and Holly share their own experiences with dealing with loneliness and offer advice on how to cope over the holidays.
Here are some more suggestions to help manage the holiday blues this season.
- Have realistic expectations. Extravagant holiday parties and family dinners are out of the picture this year. Being realistic with yourself and understanding that this is the case for almost everyone will help you handle the emotions that might come with missing these events.
- Be nice to yourself. To compensate for the lack of parties and gatherings, you might feel the need to compensate by buying bigger gifts for loved ones or going all out on Christmas decorations. Cut yourself some slack instead, trying to make the holidays special by making everything perfect is not a fair standard to set for yourself.
- Get cooking. Finding ways to incorporate recipes that remind you of your loved ones into your holiday celebration can help when you're feeling lonely and craving grandma's cooking. Maybe someone will finally be willing to pass you that top secret family recipe you enjoy every year. You can create a tradition in which you share the recipe and cook it together on the phone.
- Volunteer. Some of us might not have family and friends to depend on this holiday season. That's OK. When you're feeling alone, volunteering can help you feel a sense of community you might be lacking.
- Make a list of things you can do when you are feeling lonely. Before the holidays roll around, make a list of fun activities you can turn to when you're feeling your loneliest. It can be helpful to have a list to turn to in the moments you are feeling low.
- Practice self-care. This year, it's critical to find "me time" and practise self-care to avoid the physical and mental exhaustion this year's celebrations (or lack thereof) might cause. Sign up for the Winter WellU Wishlist to receive daily self-care and mindfulness activities over the break.
- Remember that this is temporary. It might seem like we have been physically distancing forever but focus on the fact that what we're experiencing now is not permanent. Hopefully next year, we can get back to the celebrations we’re used to having,