How to Cope with Holiday Stress
by Ann Chiappetta
The holiday season is a time to follow traditions and share meaningful connections with others. Traditions keep us grounded both personally and spiritually. The holidays can also be painful reminders of what we have lost and lead to stress during a time of general peace and good will. Now we also must learn to cope with social and health restrictions resulting from Covid 19, which adds more stress and uncertainty to the mix.
For instance, those of us who have lost loved ones near or on the actual holiday will react much differently than those of us who have not. Anniversary dates of traumatic events also trigger anxiety and depression which can cause a need to isolate or avoid family gatherings and parties.
Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic staff as well as lessons learned by this writer.
- Go easy on yourself and acknowledge your feelings, especially if you’ve recently lost a loved one. It’s okay to feel sad. If parties and visiting don’t appeal to you, limit the number of visits and holiday parties you will attend.
- If you or your loved one is in recovery, surround yourselves with alcohol-free and drug free gatherings.
- The Mayo Clinic suggests reaching out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events, or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship.
- Only you can judge when a party or family gathering becomes overwhelming – allow yourself the flexibility to take short breaks or walks outside to find the peace and quiet required to get you through the party.
- Keep to your routines as much as possible.
- Make new traditions. Volunteer to help. There is a need for volunteers even with Covid 19 restrictions.
- If you are feeling especially blue, depressed or have thoughts of suicide, call the National suicide Prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Remember holiday blues are real and being aware of how you can manage them will lower your anxiety and stress.
About the Author
Ann Chiappetta M.S. is an author and poet, making meaningful connections with others through writing. Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Her books—a poetry collection Upwelling: Poems, a memoir Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust, Words of Life: Poems and Essays, and a short story collection A String of Stories From the Heart to the Future—are available in both e book and print formats from Amazon. Visit her site http://www.annchiappetta.com/ to learn more about her work.