With the New Year, there is often stress surrounding resolutions and how to make the New Year better. One simple thing that we can do to ensure that we cross everyone off our lists is super simple: stay connected! Covid and distance certainly makes this harder, but technology gives us the opportunity to check in on our people. There are so many little ways to spread some New Year cheer without spending too much or anything at all.
Zoom, Skype, and video calls are an easy way to have a good conversation with people who are too far away to visit in person and are more meaningful than a text. And let’s not forget about an actual phone call. For relatives that haven’t gotten the hang of video chatting, consider sending them a card with updated photos or nostalgic ones. Cards we get after the December holidays can be more memorable as people may be starting to get a little down during this time.
Another thoughtful gesture is making a meal and dropping it off. Do you have a specialty dish that’s a crowd pleaser? Try making a little more than you need and bringing extra to your neighbor. Not the best chef? The next time you’re at your favorite restaurant, get a gift card for that service person you interact with every day but don’t really know. To keep things fun with our immediate family, focus on quality time. Family game nights, movie nights, and cooking together can be positive and light. Be sure not to forget about our fur family! Take your dog for walks and give some extra catnip to your kitties.
Also, don’t forget to take time to connect with yourself. Take walks or do at-home exercises. Take a bath and snuggle up with a good book. Listen to music or start a yoga or mindfulness practice and invite a friend.
Life can get heavy at times, and especially around the holidays it can be a reminder of the loss and grief that people have experienced. Try keeping your attitude light and appreciate the people you do have in your life. And if you can, be an empathetic ear for someone who may need you. Staying in touch with all of the people we care about seems like a daunting task but do what you can. A few words or acts of appreciation will mean more to people than you would imagine. Spreading the gift of New Year cheer is the best gift you can give!
Cathryn E. Knezevich, M.Ed., PCC
Therapist and DBT IOP Director