During typical holiday seasons, stress and anxiety can begin to run high. This year, in the midst of a global pandemic and rising cases, even those who love the holidays can find themselves feeling the loss of traditions and togetherness.
While there is still much to celebrate about this upcoming holiday season, it’s important to pay attention to your emotional health as you move ahead. You’ll want to be prepared if you find yourself feeling depressed or anxious, and have a plan in place and people to call if your mental health begins to feel compromised.
If ever a holiday season were designed to take extra loving care of yourself, it is this one. Tune into your emotional needs, give your body the exercise and sleep it needs and rally your support system early to keep yourself feeling connected.
Here are simple tips to help you manage stress during this unusual holiday season.
During stressful times, the first thing to go can be our fitness routines. If we’re tired or anxious, paralyzed and overwhelmed, it can be difficult to get up and get moving. During this unusual holiday season, be sure to give your body the movement it needs, every day – even if only for 10 minutes. Studies that show that even small amounts of exercise can get your heart rate up, improve your mood and get blood flowing.
If you’ve never practiced meditation or mindfulness, this might be just the season to start. Developing a personal mindfulness routine doesn’t have to be overly complicated. You can begin by finding a place to sit or lie down comfortably and practice listening to your breath for as little as 3 minutes at a time. Download popular mindfulness apps like Headspace or Calm for guided meditations that will do the work for you. Research shows that a daily breathing practice can do wonders for your immune system, mood and overall mental health.
Get Your Zzs
When it comes down to it, nothing helps to restore your body to a state of equilibrium quite like consistent rest and sleep. Oftentimes, in the midst of change or stress, sleep is the first thing to go and the last thing to get back. Prioritize your sleep schedule right away, by making sure to stay off all devices at least one hour before bed. Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evenings, and monitor your alcohol intake. Try drinking soothing teas or taking a long, calming bath just before bed. Establish a bedtime routine that will set you up for solid, restorative sleep and your body will thank you.
Emotional Check In
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by emotions this holiday season, take time to check in with what it is that is triggering you. Is it financial strain, fear of the pandemic, family strife or feelings of loneliness and isolation? Whatever it is, take time to tune into yourself and your feelings. Oftentimes, identifying the source of stress can help lead you to a solution. Start a daily journaling practice to help you get to the root of things, and if you find that you come up empty-handed, reach out for support from a trained professional, close friend or trusted family member.
Support System Roll Call
During times of stress, it’s important to call on your support system and rally your village. Tell the people you love and trust that you’re struggling, and ask them for the help you need. Trying to manage stress all by yourself can oftentime perpetuate feelings of isolation and being overburdened. Let the ones who love you most give you extra love and support, and make your way to the other side of this season feeling surrounded and supported.