*Takes a deep breath.*
Christmas in NSW has been overcome by the pandemic and now the holiday plans of many Australians have been upended in what seemed like an unlikely scenario just mere days ago.
As locally transmitted cases sweep across the Northern Beaches, at a steady but devastatingly disruptive pace, millions of Sydneysiders have been forced to adjust their expectations for what the 25th of December will bring.
Thousands will be isolated in quarantine, and even more will be separated from loved ones thanks to unforgiving border lines.
The mental health toll, no doubt, will be heavy.
Mamamia spoke to Michael Inglis, psychologist and co-director of The Mind Room, who explains this period will be particularly hard considering many psychologists are now on leave, with many taking an extended break thanks to fatigue from the year that was.
But, he says, are there ways to keep your mind healthy, even when being alone on Christmas feels like the least merry thing you could do.
There are three steps, Inglis shares, to cope with disappointment over cancelled Christmas plans.
1. Acknowledge your disappointment.
"The first step is to allow yourself to feel disappointed," says Inglis, who adds that people often don’t even acknowledge they're upset.
“They think, 'I should be better than this,’ or ‘I should be able to get over it'. But it’s okay to say, 'Actually, I'm really upset, I'm really sad about this, and I'm going to really miss this opportunity to spend time with friends and family'.”
Inglis says that by acknowledging the emotion, people can more easily move to the next step.
Watch: What you're like during isolation, according to your star sign. Post continues below.
2. Have perspective.
Inglis says that whilst your plans may have been cancelled this year, it is important to remember it’s only one year, hopefully out of many years. Plus, there are - again, hopefully - other times to celebrate with the family.