Holidays and emotional health go hand in hand. In 2020 though, after living through about 10 months of a global pandemic, emotional and mental health this holiday season should be taken seriously for everyone. We will all benefit from using coping skills.
Whether people are adjusting to a holiday without loved ones, or are trying to keep everyone happy with adapted holiday celebrations, everyone should give themselves a break.
The behavioral health experts at NOAH want to see everyone enjoy the holiday season safely and happily.
First, we hope you have readjusted your expectations for 2020. Having really high expectations can actually impact your brain and your reaction. If you expect a holiday season that is picture perfect, when real life doesn’t meet your expectation, the reaction can be very real and very difficult.
Next, our experts share ways to cope when things like stress, anxiety and depression start to take hold of you, your day and however you are celebrating the holidays this year. Coping skills can be different from person to person, and some may work in certain situations and not others.
Try these coping skills and use what works best for you
- Acknowledge your feelings. There is a lot more about this important step in a previous post, so read about that here.
- Talk to someone. This can be a counselor or therapist, or it can be a friend or family member who helps you feel heard and calms the situation without getting involved.
- Slow down. If you are doing too many things, being everything for everyone, and more, you need to slow down and take a break.
- Make a list. If you have a lot to do (see #3 above), and it is starting to cause stress, make a list. Crossing things off your list also gives you a sense of accomplishment which is a positive feeling.
- Do deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing exercises can have a lot of benefits to your overall health. Take deep breaths in, hold it for several seconds and slowly exhale. Repeat this for a minute or two.
- Get distracted. Step away from what is causing you anxiety or depression. Try to lose yourself in something else, like a puzzle, an easy project, adult coloring books, yard work or whatever can keep you distracted for a while.
- Take a walk. Walking outdoors is great for your health. Not only is the exercise good, getting fresh air and sunshine are also helpful for your overall health. Plus, taking a walk can distract you (#6) and help you slow down (#3) as well.
- Use your five senses. Do something that engages different senses. Notice what is around you using sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. This will give your mind a break from things that may be causing stress.
This holiday season may not be what anyone is used to or what anyone expected, but that is okay. Be kind to yourself and others and enjoy the holiday season however you celebrate it.