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5 Tips to Manage Stress around the Holidays

17 December 2020 - 9:00, by , in Lifestyle, No comments

A recent Morbidity and Mortality Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that COVID-19-related measures such as the stay-at-home order and social distancing are taking a toll on the mental health of many Americans. It also means that this year’s holiday plans will be different because families may not be able to come together as they usually do.

Considering how the pandemic has increased the challenges that accompany the festivities, here are five tips to help you manage stress around the holidays.

  1. Acknowledge the Change

If you have lost a loved one due to the pandemic, or have lost your job, or have been severely affected in any way, it is natural to feel low. You do not have to force yourself and have fun just because it is a time to celebrate. Acknowledge your feelings, accept and embrace the transition. This way, you will not feel overwhelmed by the drastic change.

  1. Be Active

Another way to manage stress around the holidays is to stay active. According to research by Harvard Medical School, regular physical activities not only make you fit and increase your energy levels, but they also uplift your mood. Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins (also known as the feel-good hormones) in your body, helping relieve stress, anxiety, or depression.

  1. Watch What You Eat or Drink

It is very easy to overuse caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or overeat during the holiday. Holiday stress, coupled with the pandemic, can cause you to develop bad eating habits or alcohol addiction. For example, if you consume too much alcohol, you may become tolerant of its de-stressing effects, making it more challenging to manage stress and anxiety. Make sure to eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein, and even if you want to indulge in comfort foods like cookies, pies, and cakes, avoid overeating them.

  1. Be Generous

One of the ways to feel cheerful and manage holiday stress is to be generous. This year, if you could not volunteer in the soup kitchen or children’s hospital because of the COVID-19 measures, choose to gift your friends, co-workers, neighbors, or family. This does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money and go beyond your budget. You can write a nice poem and drop it in your neighbors’ mailbox to help lift their spirits during this holiday. Such small acts of kindness will, in turn, build up memories to be cherished forever.

  1. Make Self-Care a Priority

When you have too many things to do on your task list, it is easy to forget that you need to take a break. A little non-negotiable rest can go a long way in helping you stay cheerful, bright, and stress-free through the festive season. Some of the things you can do to rejuvenate your mind and body include reading a book, taking a long bubble bath, or just curling up on the couch for at least an hour each week. According to the CDC, lack of quality sleep is also a major cause of poor physical and mental health. To stay healthy, cheerful, relaxed, and productive, make sure to get enough sleep.

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