“Happy” Holidays…Addressing Stress and The Upcoming Holiday Season
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to an increase in the amount and intensity of the stress that we are all feeling. With the holiday season right around the corner, this can be an even more stressful time. Identifying and using healthy coping strategies can help to change our perception of the stressors (i.e. family, work, worrying about your and your loved ones health, interpersonal relations, and more). There are a few, simple, yet very effective strategies that we can all use to help reduce the intensity of the stress that we feel.
Coping with stress (particularly holiday related stress):
- Do a “check-in” with yourself. If the holiday season is particularly challenging for you, give yourself an extra dose of grace and compassion. Carve out time to acknowledge and validate your feelings. Experiencing sadness, crying, and the like are all normal. Allow yourself to move through those difficult feelings.
- Set time-limits and know when to take a break. Have FOMO (fear of missing out), so you feel the need to check your social media more often than you should? If browsing through your social media feels more impulsive than a conscious decision, consider structuring in times of the day where you do check your social media (i.e. during a mid-day break vs. first thing in the morning).
- Move your body. Engaging in some form of physical activity can be a healthy distractor and allows our mind to shift its focus onto something more enjoyable. If this isn’t something you’re into, consider other health emotion-focused coping mechanisms such as cooking a meal-try out a new recipe, consider an adult coloring book, clean a part of the house (or the entire house if you’re up for it), practicing some good, deep, belly breathing exercise, and more.
- Reach out and connect with others. Living through this pandemic can lead to us feeling isolated and lonely. Talking to a family member or a close friend may help. Try to get creative, consider attending or inviting someone to attend a virtual watch party, or playing a game of virtual bingo.
Contributed by: Erica Anderson, MS