Christine MacInnis, LMFT
An LGBTQIA+ Guide to Navigate the Holidays During Our New Normal
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Thinking back to last year at this time, the biggest challenge to overcome may have been refusing to attend a gathering due to a family member persisting in telling homophobic jokes over the dinner table. Or constantly being misgendered as you ventured out Christmas shopping. This year’s holiday season is met with a whole new host of challenges that Covid-19 has brought us. With lots of gloom and doom on the news of surging cases across the county, the holidays are sure to be a whole new game to navigate and are definitely not going to look the same as last year. Here are 5 tips to surviving the new normal that is the holidays during the pandemic.
Form New Traditions
What are some new traditions that you can create during this time that would normally get lost in the shuffle of holiday parties and events? How can you be thoughtful in your planning that gives new meaning to the holidays this year? Perhaps donating the money that would have been spent on lavish parties to your favorite LGBTQIA charity. Or maybe you could host a Zoom Thankful Hour where guests come prepared to share their most Thankful memory of 2020. Plan on helping others in unexpected ways which always works to make us feel good. Let your mind explore the different options that you can do safely
Set Different Expectations
It won’t be the same holiday but there are pluses to not having to deal with the endless family dinners. The worry and anxiety over lack of acceptance from extended family disappears as the big, group dinners are discouraged. Being able to decide what you do attend based on Covid guidelines takes away a lot of the guilt you felt last year over saying no. You can choose a small group of close friends to be your family this holiday season and all vow to keep the circle closed to only 2- 3 of you to mitigate exposure. Whatever your expectations may be, vow to keep your mind open to change and be grateful for the unexpected positives.
Avoid the Negative News Cycle
On top of this holiday season during a pandemic, this election cycle and the adding of another conservative justice to our Supreme Court brought major upheaval and fear for LGBTQIA folks. Stories of hate, discrimination, and worries for the future were common themes in many news stories. Find uplifting, positive news to read and process. Try not to absorb too many stories that highlight the divisiveness that is going on in our current society. ItGetsBetter.org has many stories of gay, lesbian and trans folks and their families living their lives in a positive way and is a great uplifter!
Don’t Wait to Reach Out for Support
Depression can be sneaky. One day you think you are doing well with the isolation and the scary news that infiltrates our days, but then suddenly you can’t get out of bed and haven’t bathed in days. Zoom calls are not the same as in person contact but they are better than nothing. Don’t ignore the group texts asking you to come online and talk. Seek out support through groups like PFLAG who have members who share your concerns. If you find you can’t shake these feelings, online teletherapy is a lifeline that can help.
Treat Yourself When You Can
Eat well, splurge on a special treat when you can and do not overindulge in alcohol to deal with the isolation. Exercise regularly, outside if you can to get in touch with nature and to make sure you get out of the house. This is a season to be generous with yourself and your needs. Remind yourself daily that this year is extraordinary and also is temporary. Be generous and kind with your feelings and needs. Make that your Christmas present to yourself! Happy Holidays!