It is Christmas. We have almost made it to the end of 2020. Alleluia! As you look around your neighbourhood I am sure you see Christmas lights being turned on and trees being put up and decorated yet despite these traditions reappearing it is a different Christmas this year. As we all know 2020 has not been the easiest year. There have been natural disasters, political wars, racism rise ups and of course there has been the elusive virus, Covid-19.
As restrictions have been put in place to try to manage the virus many have struggled to stay employed and be able to provide for their family. Suddenly dining room tables became classrooms and parents were juggling Zoom meetings with their boss while helping their child understand math. It has been a lot.
Now as we reach the biggest celebration of the year we find ourselves living under stronger restrictions which mean the Christmas Supper Table won't be as crowded this year. No traveling across country to visit everyone at Grandmas. No teasing your adult cousins about things you did as kids. At least not in the way we are used to. Of course we are being encouraged by our Leaders to keep in touch with loved ones. Make a phone call or plan a video chat and I am sure many of us will do that, myself included, but we all know that it is not the same. We are human beings and we crave contact. It is not surprising that Health Officials are seeing a rise in stress, depression and anxiety as our whole being tries to deal with all that is going on around it. It has all been a lot to deal with.
For some dealing with anxiety and depression is like visiting with an old friend. You have been here before and you know how to cope. For others this is brand new, or perhaps even if you have dealt with these symptoms in the past they are hitting you harder this time around. Whereever you fit in this scenario let me tell you that you are not alone and there are healthy ways to cope.
1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones for other reasons, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
2. Reach 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.
3. If you're feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat.
4. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or
just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children or other relatives can't come to your home, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos. Or schedule that video
call. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you
can find ways to celebrate.
5. Stay Healthy. To help combat the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress do your best to stay healthy.
- Avoid large amounts of alcohol or alcohol all together. Do not take recreational drugs.
- Eat healthy meals with lots of vegetables and limit the amount of sweets you consume.
- Get outside! Go for a walk in your neighbourhood or if you can get out into the country where you enjoy the peacefulness of nature.
- Take time to unplug & rest. Set time aside where you turn off your social media, turn off the TV and rest. That can include meditating, reading a good book or doing a craft. Recharge your soul rather than your cell phone.
6. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a
while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional or send me a message below on the Contact Form.
However your Holidays look this year I encourge you not to let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps
to prevent the stress anxiety and depression that can descend during the
holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial
pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you
can find peace and joy during the holidays. Remember, positive thinking is not denying what is happening around you but it is taking the time to express gratitude for the good things you do have in your life. :)
I wish you and yours all the best during this Season. May you stay Healthy & Safe.