Dear Miriam | How Can I Celebrate Safely?

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Dear Miriam,

It’s been a stressful week (and longer). I want to do something celebratory but also COVID safe, and everything I’ve done recently to try to have fun feels overdone and no longer exciting. Do you have any new ideas for me, preferably that don’t involve Zoom?

Signed,


Safe Celebration

Dear Safe,

I, too, feel like most of my options for relaxing and enjoying myself have been done and redone. And yet, each phase of the pandemic has had a different flavor for trying to unwind.

The first weeks of the pandemic, my husband and kids went to the Wissahickon several times. We went there again yesterday and, though it was “the same,” it also gave us the opportunity to see a family experience through the perspective of eight months later.

Think about the experiences that feel overdone to you, and look for variations on a theme. Have you done socially distanced meet-ups with friends? Pick a new place to meet up next time, and give yourself a change of scenery. Have you been getting take-out on a regular basis? Choose a new restaurant to try out, maybe one that requires a longish walk to get there. Have you been setting times to talk to friends?

Even if you are loathe to spend more time on Zoom, setting a time to talk to (and see!) friends you haven’t connected to in a while might be energizing.

Though food and drinks are definitely not the only means to celebration, they can be a sensory tool to tell your body, “Have fun! Relax! This is a good time!” If you’re not comfortable going to stores, there are ways to have nearly everything delivered, including alcohol. Spending some time/money on yourself making a new recipe or splurging on a special ingredient can send signals to your brain that this is a time to feel good. Nourishing yourself is potentially beneficial both in the preparation and in the eating.

Other ideas include a luxurious middle of the day nap or break to watch a non-stressful TV show. Order a new scented candle or perfume or incense so you have a pleasant sensory experience to look forward to, and then a new smell to enjoy when it arrives. Of course, getting out into nature is an extremely popular COVID activity, but with good reason. Curling up with a book or magazine or even your phone can all be good options, too. Of course, all of this may look different than it would in non-pandemic times, but if you can find something to do that’s not a current everyday activity, you’ll be giving yourself a well-deserved break in routine.

Though I totally believe that you feel out of ideas, I’d also encourage you to revisit some experiences you know you’ve enjoyed to see if, with a new perspective and a new moment of optimism, you might find ways to enjoy yourself again. Our standards for celebrations have certainly shifted, but outdoors, masked and with some creativity combined with lower expectations, it’s certainly still possible — and important — to seek out these opportunities for yourself.

Be well,

Miriam

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