Coping During The Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, and it is usually a time where people are happy and joyous, reuniting with family and friends during this special time. This is not the case as the holiday season can be a dreaded time for some people and create an atmosphere of loneliness and bring about painful reflections.

Though this time of the year is generally thought of as a time for love, it can bring up unwanted emotions and additional stress in one’s life. You may notice old patterns emerging, stress and anxiety levels rising, and your ability to cope becoming difficult. This holiday season, in particular, will be a difficult one as we have all been affected by the pandemic in some way.

 


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We have lost loved ones, we have lost friends, and our lives have changed drastically to adjust to the challenges this pandemic has brought about. Our ‘normal’ way of life is no longer exists, and we have had to readjust and reframe our way of living and thinking.

I am not that excited as I usually am during the holiday season because, in addition to the pandemic, my father suffered a massive stroke and has not been home in 10 months. He lost his speech; he is on a ventilator and currently bedridden. He is in rehab now, but in New York, visits are not allowed in rehab facilities, so it has been difficult not to see him and touch him.

Now that the holiday is here, it is even more painful not to spend time with my dad and hear his voice. For the most part, I have been managing well. Some days are better than some, but when people ask me about my plans for the holidays, it touches a sore spot for me now. I am trying to stay in a positive frame of mind because my dad is still here, and I have so much to be grateful for. I like to call it mini victories leading up to a big victory.

 

Is it the holiday blues?

As mentioned before, the holiday season can bring about many emotions, and these emotions may be more intense this year as we all try to cope with this pandemic. These unwanted emotions are usually associated with the term ‘holiday blues,’ and there are signs that you can look out for that may indicate that you are having difficulty coping during this time:

  • Difficulty concentrating/focusing
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Feelings of fatigue and exhaustion
  • Brain fog
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feelings of sadness or despair

 


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Tips for coping during the holiday season

When stress and your emotions are at an all-time high, you may feel as though you are spiraling and losing control. Sometimes it may be hard to take a moment to pause and refocus your mind, body, and soul. Here are some tips to help you manage during this holiday season:

 

Be kind to yourself

As humans, we tend to be too hard on ourselves by thinking we are not good enough or not allowed to feel. Take time to take special care of yourself during this time. Taking time to do things that boost your self-esteem will help put you in a better mood.

 

Don’t ignore your feelings

Most of the time, we do not like to embrace our feelings, especially those unwanted feelings. But I am here to tell you to acknowledge and embrace those feelings. You may have lost someone this year, have a loved one who is sick, or not be able to be with family this year, and that is painful! Understand that it is normal to feel sadness or grief. IT IS OKAY to cry, to be sad, to feel broken. Allow yourself to feel these feelings. Do not force yourself to be happy just because it is the holiday season.

Reach out and stay connected

During this time, you may want to keep to yourself and not be bothered by anyone. This is how I feel sometimes, but staying in a state of isolation will not be suitable for your mental health. If you feel lonely or start to feel yourself socially withdrawing from your friends or family, reach out to those you trust and connect with them. Also, seek out communities or online support communities that offer support and companionship.

 

Be realistic and flexible

This holiday season will be different, and it is something we have to come to terms with. The sooner we do this, the better it will be for us, and it will help prevent us from becoming disappointed and being in a rut for the rest of the holiday.

In addition to being realistic, try to be flexible as well. The holidays don’t have to be perfect, and you do not need to try and outdo the previous year. As family and friends change and grow, traditions will change as well, and that’s okay. This year, regular holiday traditions may be different for many, but try to see the positive in all of it.

 

Don’t’ abandon your mental health

Don’t let the holidays take a toll on your mental health! Health is wealth but remember that your mental health is also wealth. Engage in the following more around this time:

  • Self-care – Try out some of these (click on each image)

     

  • Try to maintain a healthy eating habit.
  • Try to keep a regular sleep and wake routine and get plenty of sleep. Are you having difficulty getting comfy in bed? Maybe it is time for a new and comforting mattress (click on image).

  • Engage in deep breathing and grounding exercises
  • Exercise. Give yoga a try, you just might like it (click on images).

   

  • Take time to disconnect from social media platforms to detox your mind. Muse is pretty good for helping you to relax, have sharper focus, and even better sleep (click on image).

  • Don’t beat yourself up and throw the guilt out the window.
  • Focus on the present by centering yourself

 

Take a moment to pause

For some strange reason, it always seems that we are always on the go during the holiday season. There is so much to get down that we often forget to slow down and take a breather. Remember to make time for yourself because it is an important tool for protecting your energy and maintaining your boundaries with others. Find an activity you enjoy doing do it. Spend time being alone with no distractions so that you can reboot your battery.

Be grateful

Take time out to pause and think about all the things you are grateful for this year. Sometimes it may be hard to see the blessings that we receive on a daily because life can keep us busy. But take time out to reflect on what you have.

 

Seek professional help

Despite your best efforts, you may still find it difficult to shake the feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, irritability, and so on. If you find that these feelings are lasting for a while, and it is starting to interfere with your daily activities, then it may be time to talk to a mental health professional.

 

 


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Rebekah Charles

Rebekah Charles

24 Responses

  1. I was feeling very low today. I mean life has become too mundane in the pandemic plus so many people dying and getting sick was very much mentally stressing for me. Moreover the academics seem so stressful. But I am learning to prioritise myself and giving time to myself, like doing stuff that I like for example baking or reading. And yes, this pandemic has taught me to be grateful for living a healthy life every single day 😊

    1. Amisha thanks so much for your feedback! I am happy this information came to you at the right time to lift your spirits. School is definitely stressful but I encourage you to take time out to disconnect and recharge before starting again. Make a routine of it, and you will see that it helps you to prioritize and also help your mental health. AND yes to doing fun activities! This pandemic has really put things into perspective for all of us.

  2. This post is so lovely, so well written and I know that it will be helpful for so many. I am trying to remember what I am grateful for while keeping my boundaries so that I don’t lose track of my own wants this festive season.
    Thank you sharing this post!
    Rosie

  3. This is a great post Rebekah, thanks for sharing! Christmas can be a really stressful and upsetting time for some, so it’s good that you have presented these amazing tips for those that struggle. Even I will be needing them, so thank you 🙂 ❤️

    1. Demi, thanks so much for your feedback! The holidays are a fund time, but it can become quite stressful if we are not careful. I am happy you found this information helpful. Be gentle to your mind 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Tiffany. It’s really hard sometimes. At times I’m crying for for 2 days or more, other times I am managing okay. It’s really up and down, but for the most part I am really trying to stay positive so I can send that those positive vibes to me dad. Thanks so much for your prayers.

  4. As a solo parent to two young kids, I often forget to recharge. And then I wonder why I’m yelling at the kids.
    The holidays are always so stressful, especially when we’re missing loved ones. Thanks for this post.

    1. Sarah thanks so much for your feedback! Having children is not easy and sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed and caught up that we become frustrated. Take it one step at a time during this holiday season. Take care of you so you can take care of them. Happy Holidays!

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback. I totally agree with you. This year is going to be brutal, but there are still some blessings in disguise. We just have to look a little harder for them.

  5. You are so right, the holidays are always such a joyous occasion for everyone. This year is going to feel so different, as we can’t see some of our family due to the restrictions we have. It’s going to be tough for me, as it’s my family. I’m trying to look forward to the festive season but it’s a little bit of a struggle this year especially as it’s not going to end come January 1st. Love the tips 🙂

    1. Gemma I am in the same boat as you. This is such a bitter sweet holiday season for me. Most of the time I try to keep myself so busy that I don’t have enough time to pause and think about all the challenges we life changes we had to go through this year! What’s important however, is that we try. That is literally all we can do! So happy you found the tips helpful!

  6. I love the holidays, but I can’t deny that around this time I start to feel a lot more lonely on occasion. It’s especially so this year and not being able to see my friends. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. It is definitely so important to remember to be grateful for the little blessings we receive. Great read as always ♥

    1. Dendra, thanks so much for your feedback! This holiday season will be different and will be harder for some more than usual so I am truly grateful that you were able to find this post helpful to you during this time!

  7. I love this post! I actually just wrote a similar one that will go live Saturday (I think Saturday). Mental health during the holidays is such an important thing to talk about! So many people struggle during this time of year, myself included, and it’s so important that they know they aren’t alone. Great post!

    1. Courtney thanks so much for your feedback! You are absolutely right! Our mental health sometimes waiver during the holidays because of the increase levels of stress we experience or the unpleasant memories that may come up during to past experiences. And no, none of us are alone because we all experience highs and lows during the holiday season!

  8. I absolutely love the message you send out. I have been doing these exact tips for myself and it has helped tremendously. We never know how important we are to ourselves until we are left with ourselves as we have been this past year due to covid. This year will be different, but it will be okay. Being grateful helps get through tough times as these. Tha is for sharing this with your followers!

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback! This year is indeed hard and it will be so especially during the holidays because we will not be able to keep traditions like we usually do in the previous years. I am truly happy that you found this post to be helpful 🙂

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Hello & Welcome!

HEY! I’m Rebekah, but everyone calls me Bekah or Becky.

I work for adults who suffer from Mental Illnesses and/or have Intellectual Disabilities. I provide Behavioral Therapeutic Services, among other services to this population.

I am a proud Black Caribbean girl who loves a good drama TV show and trying new foods. I love looking for great deals at HomeGoods, & TJ Maxx Stores. My favorite snack is popcorn!

I love love love Psychology and the work that I do.  It’s a humbling and rewarding experience.

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Rebekah Charles

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My Father suffered a terrible hemorrhagic stroke on January 9th 2020. During the hight of the pandemic he suffered at the hands of 3 different nursing & rehab centers. He has been neglected and mistreated & I am fighting to bring him home where he can receive Home Care Services. I started a Gofundme page which will help cover the cost for anything insurance does not cover. Click learn more to get more details. Thank you so much in advance for your support!
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