Coping With Holiday Stress in an Extraordinarily Stressful Time

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Sure, under normal circumstances. But even then the holidays have caused a lot of stress and depression to a lot of people. Imagine how some folks would have to go through all of that only this time, you’ll need to deal with it on top of the agitation caused by the pandemic.

People have more pressing concerns than just a professional roof repair or a recaulking job as fall comes in, important as they are. Health and financial concerns are at the forefront of people’s minds given the pandemic’s widespread adverse effects on people’s health and the world’s economies.

Yes, the holidays can be a great source of stress for the regular Joe but if you add all havoc the coronavirus has wreaked, that may be too much to bear, even in the most wonderful time of the year.

Psychologists and specialists recommend not postponing holiday celebrations but observing it with precautionary measures in place. They believe that a little holiday cheer can help brighten up lives. This is why when COVID-19 first broke out, a lot of people decorated their homes as if it’s Christmas to improve their mood and prevent depression and anxiety from setting in.

Here are a few ways that you can spend the winter holidays despite the present health and economic challenges were faced with:

1. Acknowledge what you’re feeling

Don’t force yourself to be happy and cheerful just because it’s the season to be jolly. If you’re going through a tough time, it’s okay to feel down. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and don’t deny it. It’s normal to be sad.

2. Surround yourself with people

If you’re down in the dumps now, reach out to people. Seek company from family or friends. Get involved in your community, religious group, or other social circles. They can offer companionship and a much-needed distraction from your thoughts. Perhaps you’ll even get to open up to someone about what you’re going through in the process.

3. Manage your expectations

Let’s be real and face the fact that Christmas won’t be the same this year. The sooner you wrap your head around that, the sooner you can make certain adjustments in your expectations. Don’t expect things to be the way they were. Nothing’s the same anymore. At this point, you should already know how to adapt to the ever-changing new normal we’re in.

4. Set aside any differences

Just because chances of getting together with family and friends this holiday season is slim, you still shouldn’t put off mending broken relationships. If you hold an offense against a loved one — or perhaps you’re the offending party — take time to reach out to the other person and set aside your differences. After all, in light of everything that’s happened this year, it would be nice to regain a friend.

5. Plan well ahead of time

If you’re planning to celebrate the holidays this year, in-person or virtually, you need to start planning for it early. And by early we mean now. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is right on its heels. You don’t want to get caught in a whirlwind of unpreparedness during the holiday season. Remember your goal is to keep this year’s winter celebrations as stress-free as possible.

6. Stick as close to your budget as you can

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This year has proven to be quite challenging for all of us not only with the coronavirus threatening our health but also how it affected our income streams. Since almost everyone is strapped for cash now, it would be wise if you set a budget for your holiday celebration and do your best to stick to it so you don’t get anxious.

7. It’s okay to say “no.”

We understand that it’s sometimes hard to say “no” especially to family, friends, and work. However, saying “yes” when you should be declining might leave you overwhelmed and resentful. Just to your best to explain why you’re declining from an invitation or from participating. If for some reason you can’t decline something at work, look at your schedule and see what you can adjust.

8. Stay healthy despite the season

Now we know that the last quarter of the year involves a lot of eating, drinking, and merry-making. While it’s perfectly okay to indulge now and then, don’t go overboard. The holiday season is not an excuse for a free-for-all. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as you can. Your body will thank you for it.

9. Make time for yourself

This season may be the busiest time of the year but never forget to carve some time out for yourself to take a breather. All the Christmas rush can be overwhelming to the point that it can trigger anxiety and panic attacks. You need to take control of the situation by having regular times when you can recuperate and recover physically and mentally. This time your soul will thank you for it.

10. Seek professional help

If nothing seems to be working for you no matter how hard you try, then perhaps it’s time to seek out professional help. A mental health professional can offer insight into your situation and help enlighten you and guide you in dealing with certain issues and concerns.

Even if we’re facing a lot of difficulties and challenges that can overwhelm us, the holidays are a great reminder for all of us that we have plenty of reasons to be thankful for. We just need to learn how to cope with the challenges and work with people who can help us best.

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