By Kelsey Hagemeier, LSW – December 8, 2021 –
The focus of the last year has been about the many ways that COVID-19 is continuously affecting our daily lives. At some points this year, it started to feel like we were getting closer to the sense of normalcy we’ve craved since the pandemic started.
But here we are, with the holiday season quickly approaching and new COVID cases and variants threatening many of our holiday plans and schedules.
It’s easy to feel disappointed by this. It’s another holiday season COVID is “taking from us” in many ways. I’d like to invite you to look at the situation from a different perspective. This ongoing pandemic is giving us another unique opportunity to bring ourselves back to the basics and examine what truly makes the holidays meaningful.
The reality is, this year probably isn’t going to be the same as pre-COVID times. It’s frustrating, and I get it. We are all tired. Instead of letting these feelings consume us, we can take the opportunity for a little rest and reset and make the best of the cards we’ve been dealt.
Last year, gathering with vulnerable loved ones was not an option for many families. This year, more families have the opportunity to gather safely with the aid of vaccines and boosters. This is the perfect opportunity to create new family traditions and reflect on what is really important to each of us this time of the year.
We can teach our children the importance of helping and supporting those who might be going without again this year. This holiday season is an opportunity to make a positive impact on those we know who are struggling.
Your family can write letters (like old school, “put a stamp on it” letters) to people you care about wishing them a happy holiday season. Letting people know you are there for them during these difficult times is more important than ever.
Maybe you can start a new tradition like baking cookies, playing a family board game, or making gratitude lists. With our families, chosen and given, we can embrace this change. We can demonstrate the importance of resiliency, creativity, and connections with others to our children and communities this winter.
There is so much about 2021 that has been difficult for us – as a community, a nation, and a world. This holiday season does not have to be one of them.
Kelsey Hagemeier , LSW, is a Youth First Social Worker at Bosse High School in Vanderburgh County. Youth First, Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families. Youth First provides 78 Master’s level social workers to 105 schools in 12 Indiana counties. Over 60,000 youth and families per year are served by Youth First’s school social work and after school programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success. To learn more about Youth First, visit youthfirstinc.org or call 812-421-8336.