Even in a typical year, the holidays bring up a range of emotions. For some, it can be comforting and exciting to have the holidays on the horizon. For others, it can be a reminder of difficult times and losses.

With COVID-19, this year’s holiday season comes with many unique challenges. How do we redefine or navigate through holiday traditions, routines and emotional challenges—and do it all safely?

Planning early and communicating are key to managing everyone’s expectations. While it’s difficult to break with tradition, it’s important to modify your plans so everyone feels safe.

Consider new twists on old traditions. Did you and your family make a specific dish ever year? Maybe you could share the recipe and make it together via video conference. Or consider sharing a meal together by Zoom. While it’s not the same as sitting across the table from your loved ones, it’s a great way to feel connected.

Is there a certain game, movie or song you listened to with loved ones? Did you open gifts together at a certain time? Consider finding alternative ways to continue to engage in that tradition through a different modality, such as a phone call or FaceTime. Also, consider taking a walk through your neighborhood or watching a movie together. You may eventually discover that you’re creating new traditions or routines.

It’s also important to find time for yourself. Practice self-care and self-compassion. Acknowledge your emotions as you feel them. Things look different this year and it’s OK to feel disappointed, discouraged or overwhelmed.

If you think you or someone you love may be struggling, reach out for help. If you have an FEI employee assistance program, please contact your
EAP Services Center for counseling and referrals. We are here for you 24/7/365.