The days are shorter, bright lights cover the homes around you, and COVID 19 rates are the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic. Perhaps it feels quite confusing or disorienting right now to be immersed in the holiday season as far as the calendar is concerned, but not to be able to fully celebrate with those you love.

Stay at home orders are increasing in strictness because so many people are contracting the virus, however folks in your life may still not be on the same page when it comes to safe practices.

We have discussed setting boundaries with those you love during social distancing here before, but as the holidays grow near, I thought it could be nice to revisit some ways in which you can keep safe physically and emotionally.


Check in with yourself:

First, it can be important to figure out exactly what you might be comfortable with in terms of distancing practices. Ideally you are heeding the strict stay at home orders and are not gathering with those outside your home. However, if you are unable to get away from possible family gatherings all together or virtually, what boundaries would need to be in place for you to feel comfortable?

Will you need to be outside? Keep distance? Would you would feel more comfortable having everyone bring their own food? Everyone is managing this pandemic in their own way, so make sure that you can identify your specific needs before discussing them with your loved ones.


Discuss ahead of time:

In order to honor your safety, it might be best to set aside a time before the proposed get together to discuss your needs with your loved ones. When arranging the time to chat, make sure that you are picking a time that works well for both you and your loved one. This way, you are both able to connect distraction free.

Carving out some time before anyone gets together in person can not only quell some nervousness around not knowing what to expect from the gathering, but it can also show you and your bubble members that you respect this enough and take it seriously.


Communicate clearly—get real and specific:

When communicating your needs, make sure that you state your boundaries as clearly as possible. It is totally understandable if you want to make sure you’re being sensitive to your family member or friend, and you can totally do both of those things at the same time.

Perhaps try something like, “I totally hear that you would like to get together inside to share a meal, and that is beautiful. It also makes me really uncomfortable and scared that we might contract COVID. I would feel much more comfortable seeing each other briefly outside and wearing masks. Would that be doable for you? If not I would love to have a video chat and share a meal together there”.

With a statement like that you are honoring both your loved one’s request and yours. You’re respecting both of your wellness and can still end up getting together in a way that you feel most safe.

However you might be celebrating this year, we hope you can do so safely and healthily.

And as always, we hope you’re continuing to live your life with Jubilance.

About the author

Becca is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate who gives us her expert perspective on Emotional Health and Wellness. She holds an M.A in Education with an emphasis in Counseling as well as an M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University.  Each month she writes about mental health and how to feel your best!
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