Tis the season for good tidings, time with family and friends, giving thanks and making merry. However, for many people the approaching holiday season is a very stressful and dreadful time of year only made worse by the continued black cloud of coronavirus. In this post we want to provide you with some tools to help cope with the stresses this difficult season can bring.
Depression, the feeling of overwhelming sadness and lack of desire to do any usual activities, is way more common during the winter months especially December and January. Add to this year, the heartbreaking effects of coronavirus which can limit social gatherings and cause even more isolation and it is clear why depression and anxiety are on the rise in 2020.
How to Cope?
How do you fight these feelings of depression and stress during the holidays? How do we deal with the unseen enemy virus that haunts us and limits our social functions?
First, let’s work on the things we can easily do ourselves. Try to get outside more during daylight hours. Take a walk and refresh your brain, heart, lungs and legs. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, so don’t stop doing it even if you do not feel like it. Take a friend walking (social distancing outside of course) and chat as this helps loneliness and stress too. Talking to friends or family is great help.
Then, consider setting some basic holiday ground rules to live by so you can enjoy the time you have—limit party planning, decorating and gift buying some. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Maybe consider volunteering somewhere to spread some cheer. Consider starting a new holiday tradition and share it with family and friends.
Finally, make time for yourself—a Holiday present to you from you. Self care is very important and we often neglect ourselves to take care of others, especially during the holiday season. Make yourself a priority, it's OKAY and you won't regret it.
Now, what about that pesky virus? Continue the same procedures we have been recommending: wear a mask, social distance, avoid crowded places, wash your hands a lot and stay home and away from other if you feel sick. These are critical for people with serious health conditions or those over the age of 60. Large family gatherings should be limited in this population, as terrible as that sounds, until safe vaccine is available. This is a hard, but needed sacrifice for our family and friends at higher risk from Coronavirus.
Most importantly, if you feel really down, depressed or overly anxious please reach out to family, friends or your physician for help. If you feel sick with flu like illness including fever, cough or trouble breathing you MUST notify your physician. Please know: you are not alone. We are here to help!
Together we will make it through this holiday season and welcome a new year!