For many, 2020 has been a year of loss, change, stress and uncertainty. And those sentiments are more prevalent during the festive season when you’re accustomed to celebrating with loved ones... or travelling back to the home country to spend time with them.
With the pandemic, many find themselves devoid of traditional celebrations. Seasonal affective disorder coupled with mental health challenges amplified by COVID-19 can bring its own set of challenges. Here are some ways you can take care of your mental health this festive season and reset yourself for all that 2021 holds
Place positives right and centre
This has been a year of tremendous change with many life plans disrupted. However, make a list of the positives you’ve experienced this year. Whether it’s a new skill picked up during lockdown, being proud of yourself for getting through the tough moments that have come your way, reconnecting with old friends, or even just letting go of what didn’t serve you, write it all down.
Remember, it’s easy to fall in a comparison trap but even your little accomplishments such as simply making it to the end of this year is a victory. Focusing on the positives will help lift spirits and allow a moment for gratitude and improve your well-being.
If you’re unable to travel back home or join loved ones for a celebration, organize a virtual get-together. Recreate or order in dishes you would typically eat with loved ones, dress up, spruce up your surroundings and join in on the festivities.
Try and replicate as much of the festive traditions you can. It’ll give you a semblance of normalcy and allow you to re-connect.
In it together
If you have a friend who also finds themselves away from home and you’re comfortable having them around, organize something with them. Whether it’s watching movies, going for a walk, taking a weekend trip to the neighbouring emirate, or simply meeting for a cup of coffee, take time out to socialize.
Do something for yourself
We often don’t prioritize ourselves in the hustle of day-to-day of life. Take this downtime to focus on yourself and your well-being needs. Whether it’s favourite dishes, sleeping in, going to therapy, enjoying a festive drink by yourself or even binge-watching or listening to a seasonal music playlist, do what makes your spirits lift. It’s been an incredibly tough year and you deserve to take time out to acknowledge what you’ve been through - and pamper yourself.
Even with all the positives of social media, it affects our mental health, and particularly during the festive season, it can remind us of what’s missing. Stop the "doomscrolling" and carve some time out to connect with yourself away from the noise.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the posts and updates from your network, hit the logout button and focus on activities that nourish you. Or call up a loved one to remind yourself of all that’s good in your life away from the screen.
- Aakanksha Tangri is founder of Re:Set.