Festive Social Connection

Over the past month I noticed a significant increase in anxiety. Last winter we learned what it is like to stay at home, limit our recreational activities, and hangout with others through a computer screen. Collectively I do not think we liked it very much. When summer hit it was so liberating! We went outside, we visited with friends safely on patios and through other adventures in nature. There was a sense of relief as we began to enjoy each other’s company face-to-face again. So, as the days get darker and we move back inside I think people are worried that we will lose this connection once again. 

The holiday season also presents new challenges for us. This time last year many of us were holding open houses, going to shopping parties, and spending time with friends and family in preparation for the holidays. December is a month where people generally report increased feelings of wellbeing due to charity, kindness, and overall cheer. This year we have to make difficult decisions about going home and how to celebrate with the people we care about the most. We all know that amazing feeling we get from being in a room full of people giving off good energy. This is due to the quality of our relationships being a key factor in determining our happiness. So how do we facilitate that feeling this year?

Well, we have to be more creative. Our video meetings need themes and deeper conversations. We need to make sure we plan activities outside with the people in our bubbles no matter what the weather. I recently ran with a group of individuals in the pouring rain and we all laughed knowing that if we were not together, we would not have braved the weather. We were soaked, and so happy. Another friend shared her excitement about getting a wine advent calendar and it prompted an idea. What if we all created social connection advent calendars? In addition to our daily treat in December we could add in a social adventure to help facilitate that laughter and energy we all need right now. Get creative and make an activity of it with your friends and family! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Call a friend you have not spoken to in a few weeks just to say hi.
2. Get a hot chocolate (Beanpod simply pours chocolate into theirs; you cannot go wrong there) and go for a physically distanced walk with a friend.
3. Deliver some cheese to a few friend’s front doorsteps and have a video wine and cheese festive celebration together (ugly sweaters always a bonus).
4. Zoom Christmas carol sing along, or better yet, invite your neighbours to stand on their front lawns and have a carol sing along with your whole street.
5. For a full day call every person you were planning on texting.
6. Send out a podcast you listened to and loved to a group of friends and then pick a night to discuss it via video chat.
7. Make smores with a friend outside over a winter fire.
8. Video holiday baking class, then deliver some of the cookies you made to doorsteps of people who might need a little extra cheer.
9. Physically distanced backyard dance party with another family under the stars or in a snowfall.
10. Write a letter, by hand, and mail it to someone you miss.

Yes, staying connected will be more challenging this holiday season AND it is more important than ever. Happy Holidays  and feel free to invite us to any distanced  caroling or outdoor dance parties you have,  we are in!

The content provided in this article is for information purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you find yourself in distress, please reach out to your local physician who can provide mental health resources in your community.