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Maintaining Positive Mental Health During a Stressful and Socially-Distanced Holiday Season

The holidays are finally upon us. For some, they couldn’t get here soon enough. The decorations, lights, and planning of even small or virtual gatherings are a welcome distraction in a year fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. For others, this already stressful time of year has only been made worse with an ongoing pandemic that has forced many people to cancel their travel plans and forego time-honored traditions. It’s just one more disappointment that can be linked to COVID-19, and for some, it’s getting to be too much. 

A new round of lockdowns coupled with colder weather and darker days can take its toll on mental and emotional health. The prolonged state of doom and gloom we’ve had to endure can wear anyone down. The important thing to remember is that even if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is there, and things will change. Until then, it’s important to try to stay positive, focus on the present, and know that you’ll get through this. 

At Blair Wellness Group of Beverly Hills, we want to help those who are struggling with the social isolation, stress, and depression that comes with celebrating the holiday season during a global pandemic. Keep reading for some helpful tips on stress management, maintaining positive mental health, and hopefully experiencing a little more joy, despite the circumstances.  

Start With Reflection

You already know that you’re feeling stressed or disappointed in having to miss out on the big holiday party, so why is it necessary to contemplate it further? When you take the time to fully experience how you are feeling, you can better acknowledge and process those feelings. If, on the other hand, you choose to ignore or suppress your emotions, it will hinder the coping process.

It’s perfectly normal to feel disappointed, sad, and even angry. Don’t stifle your pent up emotions — give yourself permission to feel the way you feel so you can find healthy ways of dealing with it. Whether you find some peace in crying, talking with a friend, or setting some boundaries so you have more time to focus on self-care, it all starts with an honest acknowledgment and acceptance of the situation and how it is impacting your emotional health.   

Coping With Change

Like the rest of 2020, the holiday season will be different for most people. If you’re someone who looks forward to annual traditions and gathering together with family and friends, you may feel depressed or disappointed that this year will be unlike any other. Instead of making yourself feel worse by dwelling on the situation or wishing things could be different, try focusing your efforts on finding new ways to connect and cope in a healthy way instead of trying to control the uncontrollable. 

Coping With Social Isolation

Most people have already had to get used to a new normal where parties, sporting events, concerts, festivals, and other large group gatherings have been put on hold. However, a lack of physical contact with family and friends can be particularly difficult this time of the year. Humans need social interaction, and not just through phone calls, texting, or social media. Touch, whether it be a hug or even just a handshake, can help you feel calm, happy, and more connected. 

As cancellations and stay-at-home mandates ensue, people are left to deal with loneliness and social isolation during what is usually the most social time of the year. This can have a profound impact on physical and mental health if it is not dealt with appropriately. 

Some may retreat into further isolation when feelings of depression or sadness overwhelm them. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to stay connected with others in whatever way is possible. Even if you can’t be in the same room, make an effort to call, text, share, write, or video chat. Consider setting up a virtual social event, joining a virtual support group, or seeking out religious or community events that you can experience from the safety of your home. Although it may not be a long-term substitute for in-person interaction, staying connected however possible will help you feel less isolated and depressed.  

Additional Tips for Maintaining Positive Mental Health

Although this year may be different, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to still find ways to enjoy the holidays. Consider these tips for finding joy and feeling more at peace, regardless of your situation.

Reflect on What Makes the Season Important To You

The holidays mean something different to everyone, but what most people recognize is that it’s a special time of year. Whether your connection with this time of year is based on religion, family, traditions, or something else entirely, remembering why it’s important to you will help to put things into perspective and inspire you to find alternative ways to still celebrate with purpose.

Maintain Healthy Habits

Even without a global pandemic, the holidays can be stressful. Working, shopping, baking, and planning even a modest holiday meal can all add up. Oftentimes we sacrifice sleep or exercise to make more time to get everything done on our to-do list. Unfortunately, maintaining health is of the utmost importance this year, so practicing healthy habits and self-care is not only a good idea, it’s essential.   

Seek Help When When You Need It

If you’re feeling especially lonely, depressed, stressed out, or just overwhelmed this holiday season, it’s important to know when to seek help from a mental health professional. Trying to handle it all on your own may make the problem worse and lead to more serious complications. 

Contact Blair Wellness Group for Stress Management Treatment in Beverly Hills, Irvine, and Newport Beach

Blair Wellness Group can help those who are struggling with mental health issues enjoy a happier and more fulfilling holiday. For your convenience, we offer concierge-style treatment services that allow greater flexibility including the option to direct-pay for services and schedule appointments seven days a week. If you are seeking effective stress management treatment with a caring and accomplished Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Blair is ready to assist you during these unprecedented times. Call today at 310.999.4996 to schedule an in-person, telephone, teletherapy, or virtual session. 

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