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“So how were the Holidays?”

This is usually the topic of most conversations in early January. Maybe not so much this year. We’ve just ushered in 2021 and given a kick in the you-know-what to 2020. And good riddance!
A friend just posted the question “how is everybody doing?” on his social media. It made me stop and really think about how we all may be feeling as this new year begins.
We went into the Holidays knowing that things would look very different. And they did in many ways - more online shopping (a novelty for me), no family gatherings to look forward to, simply a more scaled down version of everything. At the time I remember thinking that I really just wanted to get it over with and move on.
But now that it is over, before we get busy with whatever is in our plans for 2021, whether it be work, fitness goals, following the vaccine rollout, I believe we all deserve to pause and give ourselves a pat on the back. Because despite everything going on around us, we soldiered on. We kept the traditions we were able to and even created some new ones. We fought the urge to just “skip it” this year. In doing so, we held on to hope for better days and showed ourselves and our children that this virus that is so forefront in our minds, couldn’t take away our hope or resilience.
In our house things were a little quieter than usual but also much more connected. There were games, movie nights, hikes, a drive-by viewing of downtown Toronto’s Christmas lights. We had one of my favourite New Year’s Eves in a long time. Why? Because our kids were - I don’t want to say stuck, but they were - at home with us. We shared good food, music, Monopoly, President (lots of laughs there) and silly hats and noise-makers at midnight. In the busyness of the Holidays in other years, I don’t remember doing so many fun things as just the 4 of us. These are memories I will treasure. I’m sure this is the case for many of you if you take the time to look back at it.
So, now here we are in 2021. As cases are rising, we have to hunker down again. But as tired as we all are, we must keep going. Continue to follow health protocols - wash hands, wear a mask, distance and stay home as much as possible to protect ourselves and those around us. It’s the best and only thing we can do to support our healthcare system while we wait our turn to get jabbed in the arm.
While we wait, let’s try to remember that these quiet times can sometimes give us opportunities for deeper connection with those close to us. So make the most of it. Set a goal for yourself. Read a book you’ve always wanted to. Write something. Call a friend instead of texting them. Do something zany with your family. Watch less news.
And most of all, let’s be kind to ourselves and each other for what we’ve endured and be proud of how strong we are.
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