Northwest Colorado Health: Getting through the holidays |

Northwest Colorado Health: Getting through the holidays

Jaclyn McDonald
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — 2020 has been a hard year in many ways. It may be even more difficult as we move through the holiday season and into the New Year. The loss of holiday traditions and the reality that families will not be able to gather may leave a great void or emptiness. And if you have lost a loved one, this year grief and loss are compounded by the prevailing COVID-19 season and its safety precautions.

This holiday season take some time to focus on keeping your mind and body uplifted during this stressful time. There are simple ways to get creative and take care of yourself.

Create a personalized wreath or centerpiece. Using items that you can find around your house, you can easily put together a personalized centerpiece that celebrates happy memories or a loved one that you have lost. Collect items that bring you joy, such as photographs, children’s paintings, pinecones or rocks, and put them together in a jar or container.

Write a winter activity list and create daily activities for yourself or your family to do together or virtually. These can be simple — build a snowman, bake cookies, decorate cards for neighbors. Focus on one small act each day to lift your mood and help you enjoy the holiday season. You can write them out on small pieces of paper and add them to your centerpiece. Place them into a jar and pull one out each day for a new activity. If you are doing this with family members virtually, take pictures or video during each activity and share them with each other.

Relieve stress with a simple daily meditation. Take a few minutes to practice deep breathing or reflect on what you are grateful for. One simple way to do this is to take a deep breath and open your arms out to your sides as you inhale, then slowly bring them back together while you exhale. If you are feeling anxious, or rushing around preparing for the holidays, this is a quick reprieve and way to recenter and relax.

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one or feeling down this holiday season, each year Northwest Colorado Health’s hospice program partners with local faith communities to host the Blue Christmas Service. This year, the service will be virtual from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21. The service is free and open to anyone in the community who is looking to feel more connected and supported during this season. The livestream will be available from St. Paul’s Episcopal website at

Northwest Colorado Health also offers virtual community grief support groups; individual grief counseling also is available to help you establish a bereavement care plan. For more information about upcoming support groups, contact Dr. Jo Anne Grace at 970-846-8319. Behavioral health providers are also available for in-person and virtual appointments at Northwest Colorado Health’s Community Health Centers; visit for more information.

Jaclyn McDonald is marketing coordinator at Northwest Colorado Health. She can be reached at or 970-871-7642.


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