10 Tips to Ease Holiday Stress

The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of year, but this year, thanks to a global pandemic, it may be quite the opposite for many … especially those working long hours on the frontlines of COVID-19. In order to care for others, we’ve put together a list of tips to help alleviate holiday stress and depression.  

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If you can’t be with loved ones, it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. If your relatives can’t come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or meet virtually on a video call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can find ways to celebrate.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept others as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with gifts.
  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, connecting with friends and other activities. Consider whether you can shop online for any of your items. 
  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. 
  8. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
    • Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Eat healthy meals.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Include regular physical activity in your daily routine.
    • Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
    • Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.
    • Be aware of how the information culture can produce undue stress, and adjust the time you spend reading news and social media as you see fit.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
    • Take a walk 
    • Listen to soothing music
    • Read a book
  10. Seek professional help if you need it.  You may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, irritable, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

For more information on dealing with depression this holiday season visit WebMD or MedicineNet