Preparing for the holidays is challenging in the best of times, with meals to prepare and guests to accommodate. But this year brings new challenges, as many of us will likely be spending the holidays in isolation. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two holidays that emphasize group prayer in the synagogue, may be spent at home this year—no synagogue, no guests, no option of eating meals out. This year we will need to create the Rosh Hashanah atmosphere for ourselves instead of relying on the structure of prayer and shared meals.

Here are some tips from the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center for Women to help you cope with the new challenges this holiday season brings:

  • Create a new vision for experiencing the holiday. Spend some time before the holiday thinking about what would make this holiday uplifting for you. What can you do to enhance the atmosphere at home so that you feel connected to the holiday without the external trappings of prayer services and shared meals with others? What do you want this holiday to look like, and how can you make it happen?
  • This year, instead of connecting with others at the synagogue, we will have more time to look inward and connect with ourselves. Set an intention for your growth this year that you can work on over the holiday. Is there an inspiring book you want to read, a relationship you want to improve, a personal growth goal you want to focus on? Is there a way that you can use the extra downtime during the holidays to focus on this goal and create a plan for moving forward?
  • Accept the fact that this holiday experience will be different, and that you’ll be missing many of the things you might usually look forward to during the holidays. This may feel disappointing and frustrating. Give yourself the space to feel those feelings. At the same time, find the positives. For example, since you won’t be entertaining guests, the time before the holiday has the potential to feel less pressured. Find ways to enjoy that experience. Although praying at home on Rosh Hashanah may not be your preference, it can be nice to set your own pace and enjoy some quiet, private time while praying.
  • COVID-19 has created serious challenges and stresses. At the same time, it offers an opportunity to build resilience and find new resources within yourself. As you find ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah under our new circumstances, you will connect with your strengths and abilities, which will help you start this year on the right foot.