It's okay if the Season looks Different this year...
There is no doubt that Christmas and the New Year will look different to us this year. The pandemic means that we cannot engage in what we might have normally done, such as have large gatherings, parties, meals, games, travels, etc. during the Christmas season. And that is difficult for many of us. The change in routine, the cancellation of traditions...it is challenging for us to feel grounded.
I know that Christmas will look different this year. I know that you might not be able to meet your family and friends. You might not be able to enjoy that holiday meal that you look forward to each year. You might not be able to attend the office party that sparks teamwork among your coworkers. You might not be able to travel to a warm climate and swim in the pool.
I know that this is tough. I don't have words to change the outcome. But this one thing I know: you are not alone. The challenges we have all faced during COVID-19 have not been easy. We have had routines changed, plans cancelled, obstacles surface, and more. During the holidays, it can be especially difficult when we feel as though we cannot connect with our loved ones. But here's the thing - you still CAN connect with others. Yes, not face-to-face. But virtual options are endless. You can play virtual games, or even watch a movie together. You might not be able to eat meals as a large group, but you can still surprise one another with drop-off meals, or order someone a surprise delivery meal. You might not be able to travel to a warm country, but you can plan one awesome stay-at-home day (and trust me! all it takes is some creativity and staying home can truly be an amazing experience!).
The key, I have found, to managing this pandemic is focussing on what I have and what I can control - not the other way around. Sure, I wish that this Christmas, I could have been spending more time in the malls, shopping and enjoying Christmas decorations. I wish my family and friends could feel the joy of preparing and sharing a large meal and games. BUT I can still do these things - '2020' style. I can connect with my loved ones by phone - and it is amazing how much more sincere these conversations now are. I can take time to appreciate how lucky I am to be safe at home - even when I feel like I've been home all year.
I can take time to remember that this year and the pandemic has shaken my routines, but it has forced me to grow and appreciate the simple things. This Christmas, I can honestly say that never have I ever been so thankful for the safety of my home. Or the ability to get up each day and have the ability to breath freely, to smell, to taste, to walk, etc. I never realized how much of a gift it is to have friends and family that text or call me - or schedule a Zoom date - to simply 'chat'. I have realized how supportive all my mentors and coworkers are. I have seen the gratitude of my patients who thank healthcare providers for the work we do. I have noticed how much of a blessing it is that another Christmas and New Year has passed by us.I'm looking forward to 2021 - not because that means '2020' is over, but because it means I have been given the blessing to live another year. Yet again, I have the chance to be a better doctor, daughter, friend, and person. I have another chance to learn new things, to excel at things I want to, to hope, and to develop positive and stronger relationships with others. I have the chance to continue to spread the message that we will all survive this pandemic. It takes patience, cooperation, hope, trust, wisdom, and love.
Because in the end of the day, Christmas is about the message of love. Christ came to earth to give us hope and peace. Christmas happens regardless of big parties and gatherings. Christmas happens in our hearts. It is a message of love, peace on earth, and good things to come. From my heart to yours - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you remember that above all things - as this blog is named - Health is Wealth. Stay safe, everyone!