We have now been in various states of isolation or quarantine for about a month. That’s right, a month! We have been in our homes, diligently trying to distance ourselves, week after week. Who could have imagined that we’d enter the spring holidays this way? It’s important, I think, to express how incredibly resilient we ALL are for having survived these distancing measures up to this point — and for our collective resolve to continue sacrificing precious time with loved ones in order to keep our communities, and the more vulnerable, as safe as possible. These are not easy times, and we are all doing the absolute best that we can.
Many, however, wonder: what will upcoming holidays look like in isolation? How might we continue cherished traditions while so distant and still maintain a sense of closeness with those we love?
First, I want to encourage you to shift from thinking about our isolation as “social distancing” to instead a notion of “physical distancing.” We can remain socially connected while maintaining our safe physical distance.
With that said, let’s talk about our expectations for the upcoming holidays this month: Passover, Good Friday, Easter, the beginning of Ramadan, and any other holiday or family tradition that you celebrate during the coronavirus outbreak.
4 Tips for Holidays During Social Distancing
Being separated from family during holidays that are deeply steeped in tradition and ritual can feel absolutely devastating. Perhaps we can take a quick lesson from friends and family who have served in the military who have had to face these challenges.
I spoke to a close friend of mine about this issue. This person shared ways they’ve managed the holidays while deployed overseas and missed out on close connection with their family during all holidays and even the birth of their first child. While there are obvious differences between my friend’s situation and our current international crisis, the physical distance they experienced is similar and what they learned, hopefully instructive.
Here are some tips that may help during this difficult time.
1. Utilize social media and electronic communications
We are lucky to have so many free and available apps to help us stay connected. While video calls can never replace a warm hug, they do still allow us an opportunity to share laughs and memories and see the faces of those we hold so dear. The holidays are a perfect opportunity to get creative with all that you can do thanks to new technology.
2. Be of service to others
Whether you are simply helping your older family members learn how to stay connected via social media, sending family photos via text messages, or have the ability to participate in an organized volunteer effort — being of service to others is a great way to feel connected to your community.
3. Keep your traditions as close to normal as possible
Traditions may be especially important if you have children. Whether it’s hiding Easter eggs in the backyard (or throughout your living room) for your children to find, or inviting your family to tune into your Zoom room for Passover Seder, keep up with as many of your traditions as you can. We all could use a sense of normalcy during this uncertain time, and who knows, you may even stumble upon something that becomes a new tradition!
4. Be gracious with yourself
Some of us may be struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression, or both, which may make it difficult to feel as engaged or participate as fully as we typically would during these holidays. Others, however, may be feeling the desire to start celebrating holidays that haven’t been celebrated in years. Both of these sentiments are totally normal and acceptable, given the circumstances. It is important to allow yourself the room to feel and give yourself a permission slip to not have it all together right now. Also, be kind to others who may be struggling and let people participate at a level that feels comfortable to them.
A silver lining during this time, might be that we recognize our deep connections to our loved ones and the holidays and traditions we hold dear. If you’re struggling during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional, licensed counselor with Talkspace online therapy.