With coronavirus cases on the rise just about everywhere, many of us are looking at a different Thanksgiving experience than we’re used to. While nobody wants to spend a holiday alone, or at least with fewer people than usual, it’s just the reality we find ourselves in this year. Of course, this can make a holiday about gratitude and togetherness feel especially lonely. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make the day easier and feel less lonely. Here are our suggestions.
Lower your expectations. This sounds harsh, but there’s really no other way to say it. The holidays aren’t going to be perfect, and that’s okay! Setting new expectations and recognizing that they don’t need to meet a picture-perfect ideal is a good thing.
Be proactive with alternatives. If you can’t see friends and family in person, that doesn’t mean you can’t see them digitally. Call your crew ahead of time and ask whether they’d be up for dinner via video or phone call. It won’t be the celebration you’re used to, but again, that’s okay—it’ll still be a chance to create memories with your loved ones.
Plan an outing or activity. It’s important to think of Thanksgiving not in terms of what you’re missing. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to break from tradition and focus on something you would simply like to do. Maybe that means watching a favorite movie, enjoying the scenery in a park, or taking a walk in the woods. Try to do something you enjoy and create a pleasurable (if non-traditional) experience for yourself.
Focus on self-care. In the same vein as the above, think about what you can do to take care of yourself. Do you enjoy long, relaxing baths with essential oils? Reading a good book in a comfortable chair? Meditation or prayer? Self-care looks different for everyone, but an activity that forces you to focus on and care for your mental well-being can really lift your spirits.
Reach out in other ways. You can still call or message the people you’re close to, even if you can’t share a meal around the table. Even reaching out to say hello to someone you haven’t talked to in a while can be a mood booster. Many people are in the same boat—spending holidays apart from loved ones—so they’ll probably appreciate your consideration.
Just get through it. If all else fails, it’s just one day. Whatever distracting activity you can find, like watching movies, reading, or even just sleeping, is good enough if that’s what gets you through the day. The next day will be better.