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Ways to Combat Holiday Stress Related to COVID-19

December 01, 2020

Allison Todd, LCSW, Primary Therapist

As we approach the holiday season, it is fair to experience a multitude of emotions related to this time of year, especially now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic. The holidays can bring up difficult emotions for people, regardless of COVID-19, so it is important to understand how to appropriately manage those emotions and take care of yourself.

Allison Todd, LCSW, one of HopeWay’s Primary Therapists provides some helpful tips and tools to get through the holidays, even though they will look different for most people.

  • Practice self-care and manage expectations.

For your own mental health, make sure to practice self-care throughout the holidays. Take some time to evaluate your expectations, positive or negative, about this time of year. Find ways to reduce the pressure you feel about how things should go and what they should look like. 

  • Rethink traditions and create new ones.

Connecting with loved ones can still happen, even if not in person. Set up a Zoom or FaceTime call with them. Schedule a family game night via Zoom, or plan to virtually cook a meal together. Think of ways to connect with loved ones outside of the box, and reach out to friends as well to connect and combat feelings of loneliness.

  • Be intentional.

There may be more downtime this holiday season compared to years past. Make a plan that includes activities that make you happy and bring you joy.

  • Refocus feelings of anger or sadness.

Sometimes journaling your feelings is very helpful in expressing feelings of sadness, loneliness, etc. Focusing on hobbies that bring feelings of enjoyment can also be very helpful, as can reading a good book or listening to music. Try and focus on things that bring a sense of calmness, of gratitude, and of happiness.

  • Remain present and keep perspective.

This is a very important way to get out of a negative head space. Practice radical acceptance and remind yourself that the facts are that COVID-19 will not last forever, and that there is a difference between FEELING as though it will last forever, and the FACT that it won’t. Mindfulness is the best way to remain present; not thinking of the past or worrying about the future, but focusing on the present moment and the space you are in. A daily gratitude practice is also very helpful and is one of the best ways to combat depression and other negative feelings.

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation.

Mindfulness can be incorporated into daily activities – noticing the color of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, truly tasting the food you are eating, noticing the smell of something baking. These simple acts help keep you in the present moment. Meditation is similar to exercise, it takes practice and you can do it for 2 minutes or 30 minutes. The benefits are endless, especially when managing feelings related to anxiety and depression.

 

More Tips for Self-Care

 

Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.