Managing Holiday Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The holidays are always a stressful time of the year, but this year, there’s the added burden of planning holiday festivities in the middle of a pandemic. If you’re wondering how to survive the additional holiday stress you’re experiencing right now, we’re here to help. We’ve put together some holiday stress tips to help you find ways to cope with managing the usual stresses of the holiday season, while juggling the added pressures of a dangerous health pandemic. 

What Causes Holiday Stress?

To understand how to better cope with what’s bothering you, you need to look at what causes your holiday stress. This year, in addition to the usual anxiety related to shopping, gift wrapping, and event planning, many people will be dealing with new and different concerns.

Some will be coping with the loss of a job and experiencing financial stress. Others, such as healthcare workers, may be feeling sad about spending their holidays working overtime. For anyone with a mental health condition, even small changes to the usual holiday traditions can make it difficult to adapt. And for those who have lost loved ones due to the pandemic, this time of year can be especially hard.

Regardless of your individual situation, it’s safe to say that almost everyone will be dealing with some form of alteration to their usual holidays plans due to the current COVID-19 restrictions. Following a few holiday stress tips can go a long way toward helping you keep things in perspective and remain focused on what you still have—rather than on all those things you’ll be missing.

How to Survive Holiday Stress

Just because your holidays won’t be perfect this year, doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyable. You may discover new, and perhaps even more meaningful ways to connect with others and experience the joy of the season.

Assess how you’re feeling.

Understanding what your feeling about the holidays can make your emotions seem less overwhelming. You may be experiencing a lot of different feelings all at once, making them difficult to sort out. In fact, some of your stressful feelings may not be related to the holidays at all. It’s important to accept whatever you’re feeling as normal. Try talking things through with a good friend, writing about your feelings in a journal, or just spending some quiet time alone, thinking. Once you have a better idea of the source of your emotions, you should be better able to deal with them.

Acknowledge a loss.

If you don’t feel like celebrating, there’s no need to force it. The holidays can be a particularly difficult time of the year, especially when you’re missing someone. Take time to acknowledge what you’ve lost, even if your loss is simply a sense of normalcy.

Don’t over-romanticize past holidays.

It’s easy to reminisce about the joys of previous holidays, while forgetting that those times, too, were difficult. Even without the strain of a major pandemic, the holidays can mean an endless list of tasks to complete, long days of travel, often with unexpected delays, and facing buried resentments with family members. While you may not get a chance to enjoy all the things you love about the holidays this year, you can at least be happy about missing the less desirable aspects of past holidays.

Focus on the positive.

Maybe your holiday won’t be perfect this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy many of the usual traditions. You can still light a menorah, decorate a tree, bake cookies, and take part in many of the activities that you associate with this time of year. Focus on the positive, rather than dwelling on what you’re missing. If you can’t travel to see extended family members, plan a Zoom chat or play virtual games together instead.

Be grateful for what you still have.

Keep in mind, there is still plenty to be thankful for during the holidays. If nothing else, you can be grateful for good health or the opportunity to view a favorite holiday movie. Just because things aren’t the way they would normally be, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad. You can still celebrate with loved ones by being creative and coming up with new traditions. In fact, you may gain even more meaning than usual from the 2020 holiday season.

Know when to get help.

If after trying these holiday stress tips, you continue to feel sad or hopeless, you may be struggling with a mental health condition. MD Now’s new health risk assessments are an affordable way to help detect health issues, before they become more serious. Our Stress Health Risk Assessment includes:

  • Complete Blood Panel (CBC)
  • Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Iron and TIBC/Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Ferritin
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

There’s no need for an appointment. Simply come in for your Health Risk Assessment anytime 365 days a year. Even if you don’t have symptoms, risk factors, or a family history of mental health concerns, you can still gain peace of mind—which may be exactly what you need at this most stressful time of the year.

MD Now also offers COVID-19 evaluations at all locations. If you need a COVID-19 evaluation find your nearest location today.