Expectations Reality graphs

While the holidays are already a stressful time, adding a global pandemic and following safety precautions means this season could look different for families. There is a certain image that the term “holidays” may bring up – lights, joy, decorations, excitement, themed cooking – this year, give yourself permission to adjust these expectations.

  • Remember this year’s circumstances and WHY you are changing your plans

    • You may feel sad, lonely, or guilty about deciding not to see family. Remind yourself – you are doing this to keep them healthy.
    • Do what feels safe and right to you – despite what others may say.
    • If it helps, you can prepare a response for situations where your decisions may be questioned.
    • Social media and TV standards are not always realistic – it is okay if your home looks different.
    • Be flexible about what your holidays may look like this year.
  • Let yourself redefine the holidays, choosing what works best for you

    • It is okay if you do not have the energy to celebrate the way you are used to.
    • You can create new traditions that feel comfortable to your current mindset.
    • Consider which commitments are most important to you – don’t overextend yourself.
    • If you like to prepare, plan what you can in advance (such as meals, virtual calls, etc.).
  • Connect with loved ones, and allow yourself to express your emotions

    • Reach out to others if you need support or encouragement.
    • While not in person, you can connect with family and friends in other ways (virtual calls, videos, handwritten cards, etc.)
    • Feelings of anger, frustration, or loneliness are understandable. Sharing your emotions with others or expressing them through creative outlets may help you process them.
    • Remember to take some time for yourself.

Everyone is handling this year in their own way. Find what works for you and hold on to it. The holidays can be what we decide to make of them. Be proud of yourself for making it through the year and take care!

Caregivers –
Taking care of a loved one, especially during the holidays (and a pandemic) can feel extra overwhelming. It is important to set boundaries where you can that would help you stay healthy – physically and emotionally. Let others know your situation, and whether their support could help in any way. You can also visit our Care for the Caregiver page for more resources.

© 2020, Meghna Taneja
Montgomery Hospice and Prince George’s Hospice