Managing Family, Stress, And Covid During Holiday Season Tough But Not Impossible


Last Updated on December 21, 2020

‘Tis the season of good tidings, family cheer… and stress. Family dynamics are always complicated. Some relatives may find it appropriate to air old grievances that have festered forever. Maybe Uncle Joe doesn’t like Cousin Martha, so you must fiddle with the seating arrangements for dinner.

Now add an international pandemic to the mix.

Unfortunately, holiday gatherings won’t be as large as they used to be. Lives are literally at stake. But even in smaller settings, there are ways to mitigate the stress and the family dynamics.

Fortunately, the Mayo Clinic is here to help with some useful tips, especially when navigating Covid-19 concerns. (We’ve added a few of our own).

Make plans based on your values. “When you act according to your values, you can feel content with your choices. Take time to reflect on what is important to you.” 

If health and safety is your utmost priority – as it likely should be – don’t compromise those values to accommodate family members who may feel otherwise. Don’t feel guilty about defending your decision. See health and safety.

Be flexible and open to doing things differently. “Consider having pickup or drop-off food options to share a meal, where each person takes a course to cook, but everyone eats at his or her own home. Another idea is to have each person bake and deliver a sweet treat for a contactless cookie exchange.”

Social distancing is key if you decide to break bread together in a smaller circle of friends and family. Also remember that Zoom has become many people’s best friend during the holidays. Hosting a Zoom holiday party may be the best way to replicate the spirit of the season. Have everyone share their feelings and what they are thankful for in 2020. It’s a tough ask but try to stay on the sunny side of the street.

Stay optimistic for today and the future.  “This has been a challenging year for everyone. Although celebrating the holidays will look different this year, it is important to remember that choices made today will help everyone in the future.”

Focus, people. A Covid-19 vaccine is available now. We will all have to weather the storm as best we can in the interim.

And hey, only a few days before we all say goodbye to 2020.

Many blessings to you and yours.

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