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Coping with the holiday season

This holiday season can be difficult for many individuals, their families, and friends. We are still going through an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which saw many negative impacts in 2022. We saw the rise of grief, stress, and confusion heightening during this year and many of these negative feelings can come on strong during the holiday season. What is apparent, is that everyone experiences their feelings differently. It is more than important than ever to provide support for individuals and their families with ways to take care of their physical and mental health through the upcoming season. 

Feelings of loneliness and isolation are common around the holidays. You may feel a sense of need to force yourself to be happy when you are simply done. It is okay to feel a wide range of emotions. Highlighted below are some tips to managing grief, loss, and stress during the holidays; and mention some ways to improve self-care and wellness. 

  • Acknowledge how you are feeling
    • It is normal to feel sadness and grief during this time, especially after experiencing something that makes you sad or stressed. It is perfectly fine to take the time to express your feelings. There is absolutely no obligations to be happy because of the holiday season.

  • Reach out to people – family, friends, and loved ones
    • If you ever feel lonely or isolated, seek out the presence of those who you want to be with. If you are unable to see family, you can reach out to community or social events that can offer support and companionship. It is also perfectly fine to to talk with a family member or friend about your feelings as well. One positive aspect of today’s society is how normalized it is to reach out to others via call, text, or zoom. 

  • Be realistic
    • Holidays don’t have to be a time when you are constantly happy. Things change such as traditions, who is able to come, and rituals. As things change year by year, cope with the changes by being flexible and realistic. 

  • Plan ahead
    • Planning ahead is extremely important for staying sober during the holiday. It is an effective way for you to know your boundaries and stay in control of your actions. Examples of this include driving yourself, leaving early from a party, coordinating with a friend, or even knowing boundaries. This is a beneficial way to prepare yourself and be ready when something unexpected happens.

  • Learn to say no
    • It is perfectly fine to say no! You have no obligation to say yes when it can be stressful on your end. Friends and family will understand when you can’t participate in everything. If you are unable to make it, communicate what you are able to do!

  • Make Self Care a priority
    • Take the time to take care of your body and mind. Give yourself the time to do things that will make you feel stronger mentally and physically. Make sure that you eat well and exercise everyday. 

  • Take a breather
    • Make time for yourself! Find an activity that you like to do. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take 15 minutes alone can help you feel better. Some things that you can include:
      • Taking a walk
      • Read a book
      • Listen to music
      • Watch a tv show or movie

  • Seek professional help if you need it
    • Sometimes it is difficult to manage through everything despite your best efforts. That is totally ok! If you continue having these feelings, it would be best to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.