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Coping with the Holidays in a Pandemic

Like most aspects of our lives, the holiday season will be different this year as a result of the pandemic. We’re being asked and encouraged to change our holiday traditions to protect the health of our loved ones and beyond. Even if you can logically understand and accept the changes to the holiday season this year, it may be hard to cope with emotionally.

Allow yourself to grieve during this season. Grief is a natural response to loss, and the loss of our holiday traditions can have a big impact on our connection to loved ones and our sense of stability in daily life during this time of year. It would be difficult—or nearly impossible—to ignore or minimize the sadness that comes with this loss.

Once you’ve felt this sadness, can you use this loss as a reminder to be grateful for everything you would normally have outside of the pandemic? Maybe this can be a reminder of how special and meaningful holiday traditions are for you and your loved ones. Missing out on these gatherings this year will make them all the more valuable when you’re able to reestablish your traditions once again.

The holiday season will be hard, but remember: you’ve made it to this point in dealing with the pandemic. You are resilient. You can survive this, too.  


Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.

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