Coping with holiday stress in 2020
With thanksgiving behind us and the end-of-year holidays approaching, we want to talk about taking care of your mental health. For many, the holidays have been a time for celebration, gift-giving, and sharing happy memories with family and friends, and are life affirming and rejuvenating. Even during a “typical” year, however, the holiday season can be a difficult time for many, who cope with tough responsibilities, financial obligations, lowered mood due to weather change, or grief and mourning lost loved ones.
Unfortunately, 2020 has been far from a typical year, and many have been left reeling. Plainly, we are as a nation currently weathering the worst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, on the heels of a divisive and bitter national election. Surges in depression, anxiety, and substance use have not slowed. Many individuals and families’ incomes have been devastated by job loss. Those responsibly adhering to social distancing guidelines pay the price of isolation and reliance on technology to connect with loved ones, and those that risk in-person meetings flirt with the threat of illness or death.
That’s why, right now we at the Employee Assistance Program are emphasizing the importance of active, engaged, scheduled self-care for you and your loved ones. Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity! We offer these ideas as absolute essentials for managing stress this holiday season.
- Remember the essentials: regular healthy meals, six to eight glasses of water a day, and seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
- Set limits on your internet and news media engagement. Thirty minutes before sleep, turn off your phone, avoid scrolling the news in bed!
- Schedule group calls and zoom hangouts with friends and loved ones at least once a week. Consider opening gifts or eating a shared meal on the major holidays.
- Give yourself separate time for one on one conversations with those you trust most to laugh, vent, even cry.
- Set time every day, either in reflection, guided meditation, or prayer, to spell out what you are grateful for.
- If you have the means, consider a donation to a local charity or volunteering in your community, this has scientifically proven positive effects on the mood and on the mind.
- Do daily check-ins with yourself, consider writing down your thoughts in a notebook or journal. If you find yourself feeling regularly hopeless, or overwhelmed, it may be time to reach out to a professional. Call us at the EAP, or consider seeking support from a long term therapist.
We wanted to share these links below as well:
- this holiday season when you purchase gifts for loved ones, follow the link for more information.
- highlights more expert advice on how to cope and make plans for December, including important signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder to watch out for in yourself and your loved ones.
- for those in need of meal assistance or toy donations this holiday season.
- also lists numerous ways to get involved locally in volunteering and providing donations for the many who will be in need this holiday season.
- is currently maintaining regular family mental health support groups.
For those looking to engage more on this vital topic, we want to take this opportunity to highlight our new Holiday 2020 Stress Reduction presentation, held over zoom on Friday, December 11, 18, and 25 at 12 p.m. This presentation is open to Employees, family, and retirees, so please join us!
Stay safe, stay socially distant, wear a mask, and we’ll see you in 2021.