Tips for Remaining Resilient During the Holidays
The holidays can be stressful enough in a normal year but adding the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic means this year can be unusually stressful. With many already experiencing depression, anxiety or grief, the thought of navigating the season during these unusual times can be daunting.
“While notably stressful, the holidays are also a time to celebrate with loved ones and participate in activities that we enjoy,” says Patty Banks, a supervisor with TriHealth EAP, a service of TriHealth Corporate Health. “But this year many have unique sources of stress and anxiety such as isolation, changes in travel or family plans and questions about how to safely celebrate the season while maintaining social distance. It’s especially important for your emotional and physical health to find ways to cope with the challenges and enjoy your holidays.”
To help you cope with the stress and find meaning while celebrating the holidays amid COVID-19, TriHealth EAP offers these tips:
- Plan. Planning provides a sense of control and helps decrease feeling at loose ends because things are different.
- Budget your time and your money. And, stick with it! You cannot “make up for” 2020 with gifts or activities.
- Choose to do things differently.Instead of mall shopping, try internet shopping; instead of large- meal gatherings, try small, immediate-family meals. Choose differently; choose safely.
- Take time for yourself. Allow yourself time to engage in activities you enjoy - exercise, reading, being in nature, etc.
- Schedule fun. Even though this year’s holidays will be different, you can still have fun. Build in playful and enjoyable time between chores.
- Reach out to others. Make a meal for someone who is alone, donate to a cause as a family through choosing gifts from online wish lists, or find new ways to give.
- Delegate activities so everyone can feel included and connected to the preparations and events.
- Relax your expectations of yourself and others. It is OK if you cannot give/send gifts to everyone you have in the past or have the big dinner together. Do a virtual dessert party instead.
- Laugh. Find the humor in situations that do not turn out perfectly. Vow to make lemonade out of holiday lemons.
- Take responsibility for your own holiday fulfillment by updating activities and traditions. Include your loved ones in creating new ways to celebrate such as taking a hot chocolate walk together or caroling for shut-in loved ones.
- Remember people are most important. Find ways to connect with those you love via phone or virtually, gather outside while socially distanced, etc.
- Do not allow yourself to be guilt tripped by the people you love. Everyone may have different ideas about how to manage given our current climate. Choose what works for you and your family.
- Do not take responsibility for other people’s holiday happiness. Remember you cannot fix everything.
- Be aware of what you are eating and drinking. Alcohol and lots of sugary foods are not effective coping skills.
- If you are recovering from a loss, the first year particularly brings back the grief. Seek support of family, friends, clergy, or a therapist.
- Focus on gratitude.Make a daily ritual of reflecting on what you are grateful for on your own as well as with family and friends.
While these tips can help you safely celebrate the holidays with loved ones and provide much-needed emotional relief, Banks notes that those who are already suffering from depression or anxiety during this time should seek some assistance.
“If you’re feeling especially hopeless or stressed, it could negatively affect your emotional and physical health,” she says. “If you are concerned about the impact on your health, you should talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.”
Last Updated: December 01, 2020