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Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, diflucan 50mg online wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.

With the rise of the new Omicron variant threatening long-held Christmas plans, one writer shares how the uncertainty has impacted her emotionally.

It’s been a long time since the status of the coronavirus pandemic dominated my day-to-day conversations, but the discovery of the Omicron variant has changed things for everyone.

While not everyone has been able to enjoy the relative freedom of the last couple of months, for those of us who have had the luxury of experiencing a sense of normality, it’s certainly come as a bit of a shock. 

Amid discussions about next week’s pub trip or friends’ plans for Christmas, the uncertainty of the virus is once again rearing its ugly head. 

Now, instead of considering where we’ll go or who we’ll see, we’re once again having to question our behaviour – is seeing that person too much of a risk? What could our actions mean for those around us? What does ‘responsible’ even look like? 

While I understand how important it is to stop the new variant from spreading – and am glad that the government has taken action to try and do just that by introducing travel restrictions and making face masks mandatory in a number of key places – I also can’t help but feel deflated that this is happening again. 

I didn’t realise just how much hope I had pinned on being able to see my friends and family after the chaos of last year’s Christmas, and now that many of the events I was looking forward to could be at risk of being cancelled or scaled back, I’m feeling at a loss.

“I didn’t realise just how much hope I had pinned on being able to see my friends and family after the chaos of last year’s Christmas.”

The main difference between how I’m feeling this year compared to last year is how exhausted I feel. When everything came crashing down last December, I at least felt a sense of anger and sadness about what was happening – this year, however, it just feels all too familiar.  

I want to caveat all this by saying I know that my disappointment at my Christmas plans being cancelled isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things – and that the front-line workers dealing with the rise of the Omicron variant, those who are infected and the loved ones of those lost to the virus are the ones who deserve to complain. 

But I also want to acknowledge that the situation we’re currently facing isn’t easy for anyone and that it’s OK to feel a little hollow and deflated about your festive plans potentially being cancelled.

The emotional rollercoaster we’ve all been on over the last 21 months is unlike anything any of us ever imagined we’d face, so we shouldn’t judge ourselves for feeling upset, angry, empty or too tired to know how we really feel at all.

The rise of the Omicron variant is a reminder of a truth many of us have been trying to avoid: that the pandemic isn’t over, and no one really knows when it will be. It’s hardly surprising that we’re all feeling a bit down right now. 

However, I don’t want to be a complete Debbie Downer. It may not feel like it, but we’re in a much better position than last year – the vaccine rollout has been a success, those in need are being offered their booster vaccines, and scientists in South Africa were able to identify this new variant quickly. 

Christmas isn’t ‘cancelled’ either: even if our social plans end up being postponed or pared back, there are still so many aspects of the festive season to enjoy – and we have our experiences from last year’s celebrations to take inspiration from, too.

If anything, I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s OK to feel disappointed that things aren’t happening as we might have hoped. 

After the chaos of the last two years, it’s only normal to feel deflated by the news that things might not be able to go ahead; feeling sad about possible cancellations and being grateful for the actions of those working to keep us safe are not mutually exclusive.

Images: Getty

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