Beating The Holiday Blues In A Pandemic

How to get through the holiday season if you’re alone, anxious or just not feeling it…



There’s expectation as we race towards 2021. 

The year that threw us all into a disarray of varying proportions is nearly over, and what better way to see it off than a week or so of getting into the festive spirit, seeing family and friends and putting 2020 to bed?

But what if you don’t feel like that at all, or actually don’t have that opportunity? This past year has been tough on so many levels, and has left many of us not quite feeling like ourselves; exhausted, apprehensive, concerned about finances and safeguarding our health. The newly coined “friendship fade” has also settled in, with our networks and the appetite for them significantly shrunken.

Licensed psychologist at Thrive Wellbeing Centre, Dr. Vassiliki Simoglou, shares her tips on how to get through the holiday season if you are alone, anxious, or just not feeling it….

Are you simply not in the mood this year? 

Then don’t force yourself to get in the mood. Feel whatever you feel like feeling, and embrace those different feelings – you’ve been through a lot these last 12 months. Be compassionate towards yourself and reassure yourself that it’s OK to not feel what you’re supposed to or expected to feel. 

Are you scared of going out? 

Pick less crowded places, expose yourself gradually and increase your tolerance. Acknowledge and embrace your fear and be honest with yourself – what is it really about? Is it COVID-related anxiety or is it an increasing desire to self-isolate? Figuring out what this avoidance really means can help you make more informed choices.

Is travel not an option for you? 

Transform this inability into an opportunity to travel “inwards” and embark on an inner journey, either of self-discovery or personal development. Expand your knowledge, try different activities or practice new skills. Start the course you always wanted, read the books you never had time to read, create meaningful habits with yourself or your family, or take up a new hobby.

Do you worry about finances? 

Whilst Dubai is an expensive place to live, there are some wonderful things to do that are free. There’s Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, walks in Al Fahidi, various craft and festive markets across the city and then there’s the beach and the parks, always free and always there for contemplation and perspective.

Are you suffering from “friendship fade”? 

The pandemic has affected spontaneity in our social interactions, in terms of their number as well as their frequency. “Zoom fatigue” has surely set in, but if you are feeling that your face-to-face interactions have dropped, then resume the online ones! Yes, friendships flourish with actual interaction, and whilst online platforms don’t feel the same, they do give us the opportunity to be and feel connected.

Have you got no one to spend time with? 

Invest in the most important relationship in your life – the relationship with yourself. Practice self-care, journal in order to structure your thoughts and give them consistency, connect with loved ones who might live abroad, and create opportunities for yourself to meet new people. Most importantly, go ahead and do all those things you hesitate to do because you have no one to enjoy them with. Still, go ahead and do them – you never know who you might meet…

The holiday season is always about new beginnings. This year’s holiday season, in particular, symbolizes the end of an extremely challenging year for humanity and the transition into the new – a New Year that encompasses a new “me”, new resolutions, and new hopes and expectations. Embrace the holiday blues and find ways to make this transition genuinely meaningful for you.

Dr. Vassiliki Simoglou

Dr. Vassiliki Simoglou

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