Holiday stress is real. In a 2018 study, about 33% of Canadians revealed that shopping during the season was more stressful than five years ago. Imagine how severe it can get when you celebrate Christmas and Boxer’s Day in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
These tips will help you cope with Christmas without feeling you’re missing out on a lot:
1. Make Sure Your PC Is Working
In this pandemic, your computer or laptop is your most vital tool — your best friend. Besides work, it is essential when you plan to connect with your loved ones and friends celebrating their holidays elsewhere. Make sure that it doesn’t bog down.
As early as now, schedule a visit from a tech specialist. If you bought your unit from Best Buy, you could take advantage of its Geek Squad. However, Christmas is a busy season for them. You may end up waiting for three weeks for any service, including repair.
The next best option is to look for alternative Geek Squad services. Some can offer a free onsite estimate and, most of all, a same-day visit. If budget is a concern, find companies that can provide a discount.
2. Plan Your Outdoor Trips Accordingly
Every year, thousands of Canadians travel around the country or elsewhere for the holidays. This year, you may need to cancel this tradition as the government strongly frowns upon outdoor movement.
But if you are decided to spend the season not alone, plan your trips way ahead of time:
- Keep yourself updated all the time — Rules on private gatherings and events can change overnight. Besides the website of the Government of Canada, you can get information from your local health authority. For example, as of November 26 in Alberta, communities with an enhanced status may need to close their businesses or limit their appointments.
- Download the tracing app — Alberta uses ABTraceTogether to alert you if you’ve been exposed to a potential or diagnosed COVID-19 patient.
- Get ready for a possible quarantine — Rules on quarantine can vary among countries or even Canadian cities. Usually, you need to stay in an appointed facility for at least 14 days. However, if you meet certain conditions, international travelers can arrive in Alberta and participate in the Border Testing Pilot Program to reduce your mandatory quarantine period.
3. Celebrate Boxing Day – Online
To avoid the stress and the high risk of getting COVID, do your shopping early. However, if you don’t want to miss out on the deep discounts available during Boxing Day, consider doing it online.
First, most stores plan to scale back with fewer people, and you may spend more time indoors. Second, some shops may ask their customers to schedule an appointment. It could mean weeks of waiting for something you can buy through their website.
Important tip: To make sure you keep yourself up-to-date on the latest deals, subscribe to the newsletters of your favorite stores. You can also add them on social media. Many shops are actually planning to offer exclusive online promos, so you won’t have to go out anymore.
4. Adapt or Retain Your Well-Loved Christmas Traditions
If there’s one tradition you can keep this year, it’s lighting up your home. Go on and dress up your Christmas trees. Line those lights along the edges of your house or surprise your neighbors with a giant snowman. Use this time to be creative with your indoor decorations.
As for food, you’re still free to serve yourself some roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and plum puddings. You can dine with your companions at home or if you’re alone and in Ottawa, join one household.
Are outdoor events canceled? Perhaps it’s time to hunker down, make eggnog, and enjoy a rerun of A Christmas Story.
5. Talk to a Mental Health Counsellor
The pandemic isn’t just hard on Canadians’ wallets. It’s also severely affecting people’s mental health. You’ll likely feel it worse this holiday season because of the isolation, the limited movement, and the cold weather.
Find time to talk to a friend or a family member. If you need professional help, talk to a mental health counselor. You can call the National Office of Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) at 1-877-765-5565 or send them an email.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers a comprehensive list of services. These include integrated day treatment and telemedicine.
This year’s holiday will be different, and it may not be to your liking. It will be tough, but you can make it less dreary.