The holidays can be a stressful and anxious time for many people. Between cooking/baking, decorating and shopping, there never seems to be enough time in a day to get everything done. For some, the holidays can further bring feelings of loneliness and depression, leaving them with little energy to engage in day-to-day tasks, let alone keep up with the additional demands of the season.
This year, we have all felt the compounding stress of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and now that the holidays are upon us, it brings a new layer of challenges and changes. Perhaps your loved ones are unable to visit due to quarantine protocols? Perhaps a holiday tradition that has been practiced for years is now suddenly over? Whatever the challenges or changes you are facing this season, here are some helpful tips on How To Cope With The Holidays During COVID-19:
1. Leave Time for YOU.
As we mentioned earlier, there are so many things to do during the holidays and there seems to never be enough time in the day to get everything done. Before we know it, the day is over and we are exhausted. As hard as it may seem, try to remember to leave some time for self-care. This can be taking a bath, watching your favourite movie, going for a walk outside in the snow, listening to some music, or anything else that you find enjoyable. Think of this as a holiday gift to yourself. It does not have to be a huge chunk of time, 15-20 minutes counts. YOU matter also, and leaving a bit of time each day to re-charge is important.
2. Grant Permission to Feel.
Whatever your feelings are, they are valid. The holidays have all too often come with bright lights, cheerful music and the overall belief that everyone ‘should’ be happy this time of year. The reality is, not being able to see our families understandably, makes us feel sad. Having to sit through technical difficulties or lags in screen time when trying to wish friends Happy Holidays via Zoom or other video platforms is, understandably, frustrating. Granting yourself permission to acknowledge your feelings, and further feel them, is necessary and OK to do.
3. Get Creative.
Allow the artistic mind to run free and engage in something creative. This can be writing and/or playing music, drawing and/or painting, building ice sculptures, or engaging in some holiday arts and crafts. Research has shown that creativity has been linked to reduced anxiety, depression and stress in individuals. It helps foster positive mental health and can be a great way to celebrate the holiday season! So pull out those pencils or try singing those high notes because whether you feel you’re ‘good’ or not, our mental health reaps the benefits.
4. Connect & Reach Out.
What this past year has taught us is that we are more resilient and adaptable than we may think. We have learned new and innovative ways to stay connected with our family, friends, colleagues and communities. Reaching out to loved ones via telephone or video to share a meal, a cup of cocoa, or a nice conversation can help ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. Similarly, reaching out to members in our own communities or tuning into local webcasts can help spark feelings of connection and are a nice reminder that we are a part of something greater than ourselves.
Remember, you are not alone. If you are struggling to cope and feel your mental health is not where you would like it to be, please do not hesitate contact me and we can talk one-one in a private, confidential and safe environment.