Like the rest of 2020, this holiday season is probably going to look different from previous years. On top of the regular stressors, like visiting relatives, purchasing gifts, not breaking the bank and figuring out your holiday schedule, there is the added worry over COVID-19 precautions. Listed below are suggestions on how to maintain your holiday spirit while taking care of your mental health.
Do not let your friends and family make you feel uncomfortable for setting boundaries in regards to your approach to COVID-19 precautions. Your mental and physical health is very important and, in these uncertain times, doing what you feel is going to best keep you safe should be a priority.
Take a moment to breathe – Add ‘Me time’ to your to-do list and allow yourself a few moments to unwind, reboot, and then approach your daily challenges with a fresh mindset. It is not selfish or a waste of time to set aside a few minutes for self-care.
Don’t abandon healthy habits – Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. If you choose to splurge, attempt to make it a small splurge without overdoing it. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
Try these suggestions:
- Have a healthy snack before meals.
- Get enough sleep.
- Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
- Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
- Avoid excessive use of substances such as alcohol or tobacco.
Step away – When you’re feeling overwhelmed, step away from the situation and then return to it when you’re in a better mindset. Whether it’s the presence of your in-laws or the political conversation that’s getting too heated, tell yourself that it is okay to go for a walk or make an excuse to run to the store.
Acknowledge your feelings – Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to be happy. If you are feeling lonely or depressed, reach out to those around you and express your thoughts.
Be realistic – Nothing is perfect, so don’t pressure yourself to make this holiday season flawless. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Be open to creating new memories and traditions. For example, if your adult children or other relatives can’t come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. 2020 has been all about video calls, so utilize all of the different ways you can connect from a distance. Even though your holiday may look different this year, you can find ways to come together.
Seek professional help if you need it – Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling sad, anxious, or stressed, losing sleep, and unable to face daily tasks. If these feelings continue to be overwhelming, talk to your doctor or mental health professional.
If you are struggling with increased stress or anxiety during this holiday season and would like more coping mechanisms, contact us at Tx Harmony Counseling Center in The Woodlands to schedule an appointment today.