Covid Christmas Celebration Q&A
Hey friends, I’ve had so many questions around our Covid Christmas Celebration, that I’m taking this bonus episode to address a couple of them. You’ll get some mindset and motivations support around holiday gift giving and dealing with the emotional ups and downs of celebrating Christmas in a pandemic. Stay tuned all the way to the end to learn one of my favorite techniques of borrowing energy from your future self. If you find the work that we’re doing on the Boss Yourself First Podcast interesting and valuable, please leave a review where ever you listen to podcasts. Thanks!
I’ve gotten so many comments and questions recently from listeners and clients around self-leadership in a Covid Christmas or the holiday season in general that I thought I would use this bonus episode to answer a couple of them
Q and A – I’ve changed the names on these questions but if you reached out to me, I’ve probably already connected with you but you’ll know who you are. And if any of you listening have a question or struggle you’d like my support with, reach out! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook message me or DM on Instagram. We could also connect on LinkedIn. So many ways to get in touch. You don’t have to go it alone
So the first question today is from Karen. “I’ve been super conservative during the pandemic because I live with a high risk person. I’m really struggling with the upcoming holidays. I love to give gifts, but I don’t want to go to the stores as our metro area is really spiking with Covid. I hate online shopping, it’s so hard to really know if you’re getting something quality and the technology frustrates me. “
I’m sorry Karen, I feel your pain this season. I’ve mentioned before how gifts are my love language and that means I love finding just the right gift for my people.
Well, it sounds like your feeling frustrated because part of your seasonal joy comes from finding great gifts for people you care about. I’m guessing it’s not just the gift but the process of treasure hunting that gives you energy. And I’m thinking there might be a few extrovert tendencies in your make up as well. This is a hard season when we feel blocked from doing something we love doing for people we love. First, I recommend checking to make sure you’re managing yourself. Good self-care, monitoring those thoughts to see if they are serving you, processing your emotions as they show up. Things we’ve talked about on the podcast, then ask yourself why you give gifts, what do gifts communicate to the people you love? How can you communicate that in a different way or are you willing to deal with shopping online to communicate your love and care for the people in your life? By asking yourself these questions you open up to different approaches and extra energy resources to do things outside your comfort zone.
If you are going to slay the dragon of online shopping, get going to make sure you have time to ship your gifts. At this point, I recommend just shipping straight to the recipient instead of being the middleman in the process. Something else to consider is where your shopping. Pick places that reduce your stress. One example is of course Amazon, I know it’s not as fun but you could have your beloved family and friends create an amazon gift list so they do the work of finding exactly what they want on Amazon and all you do is click the link, make sure your shipping to the right address and pay. Done. No, this takes a lot of your fun of finding the unexpected gift for them, but this might be the year to take a new approach. Another way you can reduce online shopping stress, if you still want to pick something out for your family and friends choose someplace with a generous and easy return policy. My favorite is Nordstroms, there is not really a time limit on returns, they offer free shipping, you can return through the mail or in-person and if you call to talk with them you will find a kind and courteous person on the other end of the line.
Another option ,for things you can deliver personally, is shopping online for curbside pick-up. So you don’t have shipping deadline stress.
One thing you might find helpful is constraint basically a self-imposed limit. Constraint is going to be the focus of our second season of the podcast but this is a great example of how helpful they can be. You could focus on small things instead of trying to make big purchases online. You could limit all your gifts to food items. However you’ve been getting your food, either in person shopping or ordering for delivery. Add food gifts to your shopping, if you like to cook, you could make food gifts for those you love, or you could buy a subscription to a food gift like fruit, cheese or coffee, so your people get gifts all year round. But choosing a constraint can help with the overwhelm of Christmas this year. I hope that helps, Karen, and I’d love to hear how it’s going.
Jennifer says “I’m really struggling with my emotions this season. I love the holidays and our big family gatherings, going to concerts and going to the Nutcracker is one of our traditions. I find myself teary every time I think about not seeing my family this year. I also fly off the handle so easily these days. This is supposed to be a season of hope. I’m just not feeling it this year.”
Jennifer, I’m so sorry your struggling. We are all facing challenges like we have never experienced due to the pandemic and some challenges we face all the time that we just can’t seem to overcome. First, know that struggling with emotions can be difficult any time but especially at times where we have a lot of connection or even trauma which means around the holidays. I want to be really clear that if you are having thoughts of harming yourself, you need to reach out for more immediate support than I can give right here. I’ll put a link to the national help line in the show notes but you could also consider letting someone who lives with or near you know that you are having self-harming considerations. Think of those thoughts as getting a serious cramp while swimming. They won’t last forever, get the help of a life preserver know and then you can learn strategies to handle those thoughts or swimming cramps if you play out this analogy. Holidays during a pandemic are bound to increase our human vulnerability to overwhelming emotions, get immediate help, no shame in that. However, Jennifer if you are just feeling unusually weepy and easily angered or you find your frustration tolerance is low, well, I first want to say welcome to the club. Anytime something we hold dear, like family members, or longstanding traditions or like with Karen, gift-giving – anytime those things are blocked or threatened, we get emotionally triggered. As I said with Karen, first make sure your self-care is operating at a high level, good sleep, good food, exercise but here is another area you might not have considered – your input – Are you watching a ton of Christmas movies with big family gatherings and lots of traditions? I’m a huge movie fan don’t get me wrong but I’m just wondering if watching those might be continually focusing you on what you can’t have this year. What if you take in some books or movies or shows or podcasts – that change your focus – help you connect with times and stories where people have come through hard times even though they were separated for a time. Or tune into some sitcoms and get some laughter flowing. It doesn’t mean you have to give up Christmas movies but consider white Christmas, it shows life after war that good times and tradition can return. I’ll put a couple of ideas in the resources section on the website with this podcast episode. But consider your input as part of your self-care for the season, and remember to exercise that input self-care for mental, emotional and spiritual self-care.
Get intentional about connecting in traditional and non traditional ways. You mentioned that the nutcracker is part of your annual tradition, I’m assuming since you said we that you go to the ballet with family or friends. What if you stream the PBS performance on a zoom watch party? Everyone bring their own snacks or everyone make the same recipe and eat and watch together then when it’s over, talk about your favorite parts and what you’re looking forward to the next time you get to physically attend the nutcracker.
The last thought I have for you is to borrow some emotional energy from your future self. This is a strategy I use and frequently work through variations of it with my clients. Spend some time visioning a little out in the future – now you can decide how far forward to go in your vision but connect with your future self. At least at first, don’t go too far forward that it feels unattainable. Let’s say for example, you look to your future self in February. Chances are, the pandemic will still be with us as the vaccines will not yet be fully distributed but more and more people you know are getting the vaccine and the Covid hospitalizations are dropping. The number of new cases are dropping and more vaccines are coming. Christmas decorations are put away, and you are feeling so good about the connections you’ve deepened during the pandemic. You think about Christmas and it was different but good. In fact, you got creative and established a new tradition during the pandemic that you’re going to keep up in the years to come. You smile and send a message back to you December self – What would that message be? You’ll have your own message but for me, my future self is telling me to relax, shake the tension out of my shoulders and lean into connecting with my family and friends, I’ll get to be with them in person soon. Remember and record my feelings during this historic time so I can tell my grandchildren what it was like, just as my granny told me about living though the dust bowl and the great depression. My future self also tells me that she’s proud of me for doing the best I can in a difficult situation. She tells me I’m stronger than I think I am.
Once you’ve got the message from your future-self clear. Write it down and post that note where you’ll see it often. In that way, you’re borrowing some energy and strength from your future self.
I hope you’ve found some support in sharing a couple of questions from listeners. If you’d like some support from me this season, be sure to connect on the BYF Facebook page or Instagram or email me at email@example.com. Take care of yourselves and you loved ones this season. Talk to you soon!
We talked a little in our last episode about reframing connection – getting to the real foundation of connection and getting creative about how to achieve connection in a new way that fit’s with everyone’s idea of Covid safety.