Don’t Let COVID Be the Christmas Grinch!

Don’t Let COVID Be the Christmas Grinch!

By: Dr. Rick Petronella

The Grinch is a fictional character created by Dr. Seuss and is best known as the main character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The grumpy, anti-holiday spirit of the character has led to the everyday term “Grinch”. In this difficult year with all the challenges that 2020 has brought us, we might find ourselves asking… “Has the Grinch stolen Christmas this year?” 

All of us are accepting the reality that everything has been so different this Christmas season. We still can find meaningful ways to celebrate Christmas— We need to acknowledge how important our relationships are to us, then make it happen as wisely and meaningful as we possibly can.

“The Holidays” conjure up notions of happy families gathered together sharing a wonderful meal and much merriment. But even for the fortunate who do experience holiday joy, with COVID-19 in our midst, many have experienced losses big and small this season — loved ones lost to the Coronavirus, financial insecurity, the inability to travel, and in many cases not being with family.

Christmas becomes more important in times like this. Have you ever wondered what does God think about Christmas? He is very interested in this holiday. The reason for the season traditionally is when Christians want to celebrate that Christ the Savior was born. Take some time to reflect why you celebrate Christmas. Then allow yourself to experience the real reason for the season. It will truly make a difference, not just this season, but for the rest of your life

And while holidays usually help us mark the passage of time and provide a pause for reflection while we spend time with our loved ones, for many people, “home for the holidays” doesn’t have quite the same ring when we’ve been stuck at home with one another for nine months. Our worlds have gotten much smaller. Ironically, “any place but home” is the Christmas wish for some.

The traditions surrounding Christmas still stir warm feelings in the hearts of many—young and old alike—all over the Earth. Families will come together (but maybe not as large of a gathering as we are used to). Children await the morning they will receive their presents. Loved ones give gifts, gather for Christmas dinners and recall previous Christmases spent together. There is no other time quite like it.

In the end, the Grinch changes his ways by the story’s end, but it’s the unreformed character who “hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season!” The ill-natured Grinch, with his heart “two sizes too small,” provides us with a lively symbol of someone we love to hate. Yet, hate does not have any place in the celebration of Christmas this year..

However, this most popular holiday in the world can face somewhat of a battle these days.  This time of year represents joy, peace and family.. It is a time for people to find joy, count their blessings and be in a celebratory mood.  Let’s find a more meaningful way to make this Christmas the best yet! Christ is born.  

Quiz: How Well Do You Care for Yourself During Difficult Times?

We all go through challenging times at various points in life- whether it’s a health crisis, the end of a relationship, job loss, financial difficulties or the death of a loved one. To cope with such difficult times, self-care is vital but, too often, we are hard on ourselves instead. Answer these true/false questions to discover how well you support yourself during difficult times. 

True or False?

Set 1 
1. Although it doesn’t really help, when I’m facing something difficult, I often self-soothe by over-indulging in food and alcohol.
 2. During tough times, I get caught up in “putting out fires,” and self-care goes out the window.
3. It’s easy for me to mentally spin out of control with worry and worst-case scenario thinking.
4. I can’t face my friends and family when things aren’t going well; I tend to isolate.
5. Shame and blame take over when I’m facing a difficult situation; I either feel it’s my fault or someone else’s.
6. During hard times, I get scared and feel immobilized and depressed.
7. I can’t understand why bad things happen to good people; it’s not fair.
8. In the midst of bad times, I lose perspective and have a hard time trusting that things will get better. 

Set 2
1. No matter what’s going on, I’m committed to staying on track with my self-care routines.
2. Caring for myself includes asking for and receiving support from people who love and care about me.   
3. I share my feelings and what’s going on with people I trust. 
4. I have tools to help keep myself positively focused.
5. No matter how intense the situation, I take the time to do things that make me feel better, such as working out, getting a massage, spending time in nature.
6. I surround myself with supportive people and uplifting materials.
7. When times are tough, I look for any deeper or broader meaning behind the outer circumstances. That helps me keep the situation in perspective and even use it for my own psychological growth.
8.  I trust myself to be able to handle whatever comes my way.

If you answered true more often in Set 1 and false more often in Set 2, you may wish to get more support around caring for yourself. Please call if you’d like assistance in exploring this further.

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