“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” ~ Charles Dickens
Last month, I wrote about burnout and holiday tips. I was hopeful that the two posts would provide sufficient information for the remaining holidays of the year. However, the constantly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many people for a loop once again. The Omicron variant seems to be spreading like wildfire. As a result, there has been a new round of suggestions, mandates, and cancellations.
Although I have no travel plans, I realize that many of my readers do (or did) have plans to travel this Christmas. Some airlines have cancelled flights due to the virus. I am sure already-stressed travelers are beyond frustrated. They have had the rug pulled out of their holiday plans at a time when it seemed that the pandemic may have been winding down. After missing gatherings last year, this season seemed more promising. It can feel devastating to abandon travel plans at the last minute and return home to isolation once again.
Other families have been planning to host Christmas dinner at their homes. News of the Omicron variant may have put a damper on those arrangements as well. At the very least, most people will reassess their plans. Perhaps, they will consider having each guest test before attending the family meal. They may mask up indoors, eat socially distanced, and open windows despite the cold weather.
To many, these changes may seem like another upheaval in a long stream of life disturbances. It is important to remember our discussion about pandemic fatigue. No one ever declared victory over the pandemic, yet it has been tempting to believe it is behind us. Personally, I believe the Omicron variant may be good news – the beginning of the end, perhaps. As the virus mutates, many epidemiologists expect that it will eventually weaken to the point it becomes comparable to common influenza.
Holiday plans have been disrupted for many people. Perhaps, last minute flight cancellations will prove to be a blessing. Maybe you would have contracted COVID on the flight or, worse yet, carried the virus to vulnerable loved ones. We will never know for sure.
Changing the logistics of holiday dinners to include masks, open windows, and distancing will give us something to remember in years to come. Maybe Christmas 2022 will finally be the one that allows us to take a deep breath and look back on the pandemic as a thing we all endured together. If it is, our blessings will be more pronounced. In the meantime, we will create new traditions and be thankful for what we do have.
Let’s focus on practicing gratitude and kindness to others. We cannot possibly know how hard the battle is for everyone around us. Acts of kindness and patience can go a long way. I know how tired everyone is. Now, more than ever, it is important to practice excellent self-care techniques.
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