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Coping with stress over the holidays in a time of uncertainty

Typically, our stress and anxiety over the holiday season is due to a lack of time, shopping, family gatherings and office parties. This year our stress and anxiety over the holiday season may been replaced by the fear of the coronavirus, giving it to someone we love and new social distancing norms. We hear cases rising and guidelines constantly changing. We may find ourselves torn between what we should do and what we want to do during these difficult times. Here are a few tips that will help you cope with stress during the holidays.

Identify the source and cause of the stress. When we are able to narrow down reasons for our stress, we can develop coping skills to manage and reduce our stress. For many, large gatherings are stress causing events. Talk to the host of the event and openly communicate your feelings and worries. Explain your comfort level and the pain your decision may cause. Be confident when communicating your feelings and reassure yourself you’re making the right decision.

For others, a source of stress may be loneliness. You may find yourself isolated, missing social gatherings, or seeing loved ones during the holidays. This may have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing causing you undue stress. Use Zoom or FaceTime to stay connected with friends. Plan a virtual lunch or art class. If using the internet is not your thing, pick up phone and call someone who’s voice you just want to hear.

If trying to balance children, holiday shopping, virtual learning and working out of the home is causing you stress, spend some time outdoors. Go for walks by yourself or with those you live with. Plan a day bike day or a picnic with your family. If possible, eat a meal or enjoy your morning coffee outside in the backyard, front porch or on the balcony.

You may simply feel overwhelmed and stressed with everything going on around you. 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year for most. Try to maintain a routine, create a calendar of things to do, and balance your time. Do not to over-extend yourself, set boundaries even on yourself and allow yourself to enjoy some down time. We should all take time to increase self-care doing something kind for ourselves. Practice deep breathing, try yoga, join a virtual fitness class, or take relaxing baths. Taking care of yourself and making you a priority will help reduce your stress.

If you are experiencing symptoms that are affecting your daily functioning, you may need to seek help from a professional. Note that you may not need to see a mental health professional for a long period of time but just for guidance, support and direction. If you would like to get more information about our individual therapy  Services click here.

Wishing you and your family a very healthy and stress free holiday season 2020!

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