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Feed Your Social Needs This Holiday Season

One of my favorite Christmas songs is, "I'll Be Home For Christmas". Though singing is not one of my skills, I usually belt it out when it comes on. I was listening to that song the other day and it struck me that this year, many people will be staying put for Christmas and won't be home to spend time with their families this year. That will put a huge strain on our health because we're missing that social connection at a time of year that's all about family, togetherness, celebration and love.

There's so much more to health and wellness than just the food on your plate. We are social beings and crave relationships, a sense of belonging, love, and a social connection. This is a year that has really put a damper on social needs and has left many people facing mental health challenges as a result.

This holiday season is going to be a different one for sure and will continue to challenge us socially. With many people deciding to stay home and have a quiet holiday season, the energy we typically get from the holidays will be missing. So, how can you feed this need? Here are some ideas to stay connected and feed your social need this year.

Check out the virtual events within your community. Many communities, churches and other associations are hosting events that can bring people together either in a socially distanced way or virtually. My parents attended a virtual Masquerade event with their church and invited other members of my family to attend. It was a great way to do something together even though we couldn't be together. You can find these events on Facebook or another social media outlet or the local newspaper.

Join a group. There are different hobby or interest groups on Facebook (and I'm sure other social outlets). This is a great way to get to meet people who are like minded and feed that social need.

Schedule a time to connect with friends. One of my friends is really great about this. She'll reach out and put some time on the calendar to just do a video call after all is quiet and the kids go to bed. This is always something I never knew I needed until we get on the call and my energy level rises. Schedule time with friends and family to connect or do things together.

Open gifts together virtually. One of my favorite things to do is watch someone open their gifts at Christmas. I always try to find something that is meaningful to the person or our relationship and I'm going to miss seeing their faces this year when they open their gifts. Schedule some time to open gifts together virtually so that you don't miss it.

Enjoy the moment. The holidays go by so fast and while this year has been challenging, it's been an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the little things and the time with family. We're usually running around at Christmas time going from house to house. This year, since we're staying put, we're going to drive around and check out all the lights on the houses. It was a tradition I enjoyed as a child and now that we have time for it, we're going to do it.

What things will you be doing this holiday season to connect with family and friends?

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