Experts say people may be feeling blue this holiday season because the Omicron variant has dashed plans for gatherings and festivities. However, they say there are a number of ways to bring back joy and happiness as 2021 winds down. One way is to think of derailed plans as things that have been postponed, not cancelled. Another way is to be grateful for what you do have, even if it’s something as simple as a morning cup of coffee.
For many people, December 2021 was going to be the holiday season when things returned to normal. We’d all attend large parties, swap gifts, and hug our neighbors. However, the Omicron COVID-19 variant has emerged as the troublesome guest no one invited. Now, we ponder if we are equipped to handle another season of disappointment, sadness, and frustration.
While the idea of a Zoom family holiday party may no longer feel innovative and cool, there are steps we can take to still make this year a season with a positive reason. Many people have been living in what could perhaps be called a “bubble of hope” while planning the holiday season. The latest devel-opments can be a bitter pill to swallow after nearly 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, experts say accepting the situation is a good first step toward having holiday joy. “We are all angry and irritable and all any of us want for the holidays is freedom,” Mary Joye, a licensed mental health counselor, life coach, and certified family mediator in Florida, told Healthline.
We may even feel a bit let down by our own valiant efforts, Joye said. “We thought we were out of the woods and that COVID-19 was manageable and now we are forced to retreat again,” she said. “We all want to be free of the constant survival mode and into revival mode as quickly as possible. At first, the vaccine looked like it was the final weapon, but COVID-19 finds its way through.” This can leave us feeling beaten up and perhaps hopeless.
“This time around, it seems we’re seeing a bout of collective learned helplessness. This concept that no matter what we do, we can’t create change,” Jennifer Weaver-Breitenbecher, a therapist and licensed mental health counselor in Rhode Island, told Healthline. The best first step out of that, she said, is reminding yourself that “the belief we can’t create any change is a fallacy.”
What can you learn in a month without alcohol? never a bad time to check in on your relationship with alcohol. Learn how to navigate a month of sobriety with the month-long Alcohol Reset Challenge. By adjusting our view of what we need, want, and hope for this holiday season, we can rise above the sadness and angst, Joye said. The first tip? Reframe your view of things that are changed.