FE9D29B3-F346-4682-8D3C-A2B9B0FB6D7D Created with sketchtool.

Tapping into Resiliency: How to Be Okay With the Holidays in the Age of COVID

December 7, 2020

Written by

The Meadows

LinkedIn logo

Categories

Tags

By Christa Banister

It’s no secret that 2020 has been one for the history books. 

In addition to being an election year, which is certainly eventful enough all by itself, we’ve all been forced to adapt in unimaginable ways. 

Now with the holidays rapidly approaching, many traditions will be forced to undergo an adaptation of their own.

For instance, who would’ve guessed that toilet paper hoarding would be a thing? Or that finding a container of Clorox wipes was akin to stumbling upon a unicorn? Working from home, once considered a dream scenario for many with a morning commute, replaced the office hustle. Zoom calls subbed in for hangouts with friends. And the phrase “new normal” became an increasingly groan-worthy part of the lexicon.

Now with the holidays rapidly approaching, many traditions will be forced to undergo an adaptation of their own. The good news? That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. And in the process, you’ll flex the muscles of resiliency, which a Harvard University study describes as something “built over time as the experiences we have interact with our unique, individual genetic makeup.”

The Power in Resiliency 

That aforementioned individuality, both genetically and experientially, help explain why there’s no one-size-fits-all response to the stress and adversity associated with the pandemic. Considering the varied life experiences and the responses to those from human to human, a wide range of factors can help tip the scale into positive or negative territory. In her book How Resilience Works, Diane Coutu identifies three characteristics of resilient people in Harvard Business Review

Resilient people find meaning in the hardship rather than resorting to despair, and improvise solutions from thin air, while others do not.

First, a “staunch acceptance of reality” followed by “a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values that life is meaningful,” and finally, “an uncanny ability to improvise.” 

While it’s easy to disconnect when life is challenging, Coutu says those who are resilient will face the reality head-on, find meaning in the hardship rather than resorting to despair, and improvise solutions from thin air, while others do not. 

Not only does the quality play an essential role in business success, as detailed in a study of British employees who weighed in on the biggest drain on resilience at work (spoiler alert: it was tied to relationships), but The Army has identified it as something more powerful than the latest artillery circuitry.

Part of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, the Army’s “Master Resiliency Training Course” is intended to enhance a warfighter’s mettle, mind, and mental thinking by focusing on five dimensions of strength: emotional, family, physical, social, and spiritual.

No doubt, the Army has a reputation for its toughness. But in the aforementioned course, the priority isn’t to hide pain or fear under a rug. They’re not looking for a fake, put-on toughness. Their goal is to determine how soldiers can make themselves better people through any given circumstance, which serves them well not only on the battlefield but in life.

Celebrating the Holiday Season With a New Focus (Safety First!)

When the negative headlines and harsh realities of life during the pandemic seem to pile up from week to week or even hour to hour, it can be easy to focus on what you can’t do on Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve. But a better, more resilient response will go a long way for your mental health.

The most important thing is having something to look forward to that’ll go in the proverbial time capsule that is 2020.

While your celebrations may not look exactly the same, there may be a silver lining in not attending that family/friend/work holiday party you dread every year. Life may feel freer without camping out at the airport for hours and hours after your flight got cancelled. Or facing a jam-packed schedule of recitals and get-togethers and shopping at packed malls. New traditions can emerge, and some things, like baking cookies, sending cards, volunteering, or watching your favorite holiday movies while sipping hot chocolate can stay the same. 

The most important thing is having something to look forward to that’ll go in the proverbial time capsule that is 2020. 

While we can acknowledge that it’s different, it’ll be remembered as the year where even your grandma embraced technology. The year where you celebrated on your own terms rather than feeling pressured to sign on for things you wish you could say no to. It can be the year where you felt connected by bringing joy to someone else through a kind act. But most of all, it can be a reminder that you can do hard things. 

If you or someone you love needs help taking the first step toward healing and beginning a new chapter, don’t hesitate to reach out to our caring team at The Meadows