This year, the holidays will present a unique set of challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our normal activities. Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate the upcoming holiday season.
Protect Your Mental Health
Fatigue around COVID-19 and the continued isolation might add an additional layer to an already stressful time of year. But this is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby and practice self-care to protect your own mental health. Take care of yourself with these ideas to relax, stay healthy and take a break from the stress:
• Plan a spa day at home to relax
• Read a new book to learn something
• Increase your physical activity to get feel-good endorphins
• Maintain a regular sleep schedule to feel renewed
• Avoid too much social media or news to escape
Celebrate With New and Old Traditions
Although the holidays will look different this year, you can follow some simple steps to celebrate safely and incorporate some fun traditions at the same time.
• Keep things as normal as possible. If any traditions can be done at home or safely, make sure to include them in your holiday plans. You can drive around to look at holiday lights, decorate your home, make favorite family recipes, and watch your favorite holiday movies.
• In lieu of big holiday parties, consider making new traditions that can be done safely like Zoom holiday parties with scavenger hunts, recipes swaps where you share the results through videos or pictures, or playing games with friends and family through websites or apps.
Avoid Alcohol and Other Drugs
Although many people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with stress, they can actually cause more harm than good. Avoid using alcohol, marijuana or other drugs to deal with holiday stress and instead reach out to friends and family through video chat, text or by phone. Did you know that:
• Major holidays are associated with increases in traffic crashes due to drugged and drunk driving. Be responsible. If someone you know is drinking, do not let them get behind the wheel.
• Keep in mind that beer and wine are just as intoxicating as hard liquor. A 12-ounce can of beer, a five-ounce glass of wine, and an ounce and a half of liquor contain the same amount of alcohol.
Ask for Help
If the holidays are highly stressful for you, don’t go it alone. Reach out to your social network, or call a mental health professional if you need to talk. Call New Vista’s 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000 for support, in crisis, or to make a telehealth appointment. Happy holidays, and please celebrate safely!