We have been fielding a lot of concerns, ambivalence, indecisiveness from our clients over how to manage family traditions and relationships during this Thanksgiving. People are feeling the squeeze between fears of unintentionally spreading the virus, disappointment of missing out on time with family, fears of disappointing family and the dread of the staying home staring at the same four walls we have been since March.
To make matters even more tricky, navigating these choices is breeding tense communications when family are not on the same page about what constitutes “being safe and careful” or when requests to quarantine so time together can be sanctioned and safe, are being denied.
If we all listened to health officials no one would travel and most “family meals” would be spent via Zoom. But that’s not the case and many people are taking matters into their own hands and traveling to be together, either testing before meeting up or doing some sort of mix of a quarantining and testing or simply just taking a gamble, since not seeing family this holiday is just too far out of their realm of possibility.
Whatever path you choose, try to remember the following when it comes to navigating the emotional and relational challenges that you presented with:
- Judging one another for what they feel or believe or the choices they feel they need to make around managing concerns for Covid and this holiday won’t help you feel closer to one another, it just drives in more distance and disharmony
- Listen and try to understand where the other’s concerns, requests and choices are coming from and express empathy when requests are not able to be met. Empathy is not the same as agreement, it is simply recognizing and validating the other’s feelings as their own
- Respecting another’s boundaries rather than pushing against them because they don’t fit how you want things to be, is a sign of adulthood and healthy thinking
- Sitting with the discomfort of loneliness, disappointment and hurt is well, uncomfortable yet, these feelings are natural parts of life experience and we can all learn more about ourselves and others when we sit with and attend to them in loving and kind ways. Plus, these feelings will pass eventually, especially when given the compassionate space to do so
- This has been a trying year for most people and in variety of ways, so why not aim to inject this holiday with a little love, compassion, levity and creativity
- If meeting in person is off the table, plan for a zoom meeting. Search up some thanksgiving trivia questions, host a timed turkey drawing contest, think out of the box and have some fun!!
- The premise of Thanksgiving is reflecting on what it is you feel most grateful for and expressing that gratitude – take time to take a full accounting of who and all you feel most appreciative and grateful for and let that be known.
Wishing you and yours a peaceful, relaxing and safe Thanksgiving from the Bhava Therapy Group Team!