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Coping with the Holidays During COVID-19

The holidays are just around the corner. During the holidays, we normally experience a range of emotions from excitement and joy to feelings of stress, loneliness and sadness. With the global pandemic, these feelings can intensify. The 2020 holiday season, and the ways in which we celebrate, will look significantly different; the pandemic may likely dampen positive emotions for many of us and increase negative ones. However, with some additional preparation and some creative thinking, we can create joyful holiday season.

Here are some tips on how to maintain your emotional health and wellbeing during this holiday season:

  • Plan:  Before you travel, plan in advance to help reduce stress. Before you set off, check local restrictions that your destination might have regarding testing and quarantine requirements.

  • Respect Your own Needs: Coping with COVID-19 begins with identifying and respecting your own needs and concerns, then clearly communicating them. Creativity and technology can help make sure everyone is included in a safe and healthy way.

  • Create new traditions: Think about hosting virtual celebrations, such as video calls to watch holiday movies, play games or open gifts. Brainstorm with your friends and family to find what works.

  • Assess the risk: It is important to assess the current COVID-19 levels in your and others’ communities to decide whether to limit the number of attendees or postpone or cancel.  Celebrating virtually (such as on Zoom) or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread. In-person gatherings risk spreading the virus based on your event size. Use CDC guidelines to lower your and your household’s risk. CDC Considerations for Events and Gatherings.

  • Celebrate within your means: Decide on a budget. If you plan to shop in person, confirm store hours and policies before you leave. Track your spending and cut back on extras.

  • Find happiness on your terms: Do what matters most to you. Set realistic expectations and limits for yourself and others, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when something is outside the boundaries that you set.

  • Manage your time: Reduce your stress by planning your time wisely. Decide what works best for your wellbeing. Be sure to get enough rest, exercise and eat healthy food.

  • Use Humor and laughter: Humor helps lighten the mood and put things in perspective. Sharing a laugh helps us connect and put aside our differences. Take a moment to look for funny things as you go through your day. It will help you relax and enjoy the holidays. 

  • Manage seasonal sadness: If you are sad or struggling around the holiday or winter blues, be honest about it.  You are not alone; there are many people who feel the same way. Be patient and kind to yourself. 

Check out these resources to help you plan your holiday celebrations in a way that supports your traditions and your overall wellbeing:

 

If holiday stress and anxiety start to have a negative impact on your life, call Mass General Brigham Employee Assistance Program at 866-724-4327 for support.


This content was last modified on: 11/04/2020

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