All of us are struggling in our own way with the impact that COVID-19 has left on our lives. Some have lost jobs and businesses causing financial hardships. Social distancing, maskmandates and quarantines caused isolation and lost of connection from others. Some have had loved one’s pass causing overwhelming grief. COVID-19 has intensified mental health and substance abuse issues due the unrest and uncertainty.
The year 2020 has been a year of many disappointments, loss and hardships which can magnify our state of crisis during this holiday season. Getting through the holidays may seem as just another stressor, but here are some tips to help you navigate through.
1. Slow down and recognize how you’re feeling. Take the time to journal or talk to a friend. Recognizing how wefeel is the beginning of processing through it. Processing through our feelings make things seem less overwhelming.
2. Roll with the change. Rolling with the change this year by doing something that may not be a typical family tradition. You can even get creative and start a new one. There’s no denying that things will be different this year, but there isn’t a right or wrong way to participate. There may be certain things you can’t do right now, but there are surely some that you can. You can still send gifts to your friends and family, decorate, make your favorite holiday dish and watch your favorite holiday movie.Often, the holidays can be stressful even without the presence COVID-19. If this year is just too much, it’s perfectly okay to scale back, slow down and just have a low-key holiday.
3. Practice Gratitude. It may seem difficult to find things to appreciate this year but, there is still things to be thankful for. Make an effort throughout the day to identify things that you’re grateful for. Identify everyday things we tend to take for granted- your shoes, your home, your pet or that gooey cookie. Identify the broader things- such as your health or the community. COVID-19 has had an impact on our community, but ourcommunity has also gotten stronger. Our Community has shown resiliency by joining together to offer support through food shares, donations, crisis counseling and much more.
4. Seek professional help. If the impact of COVID-19 is too overwhelming, reach out to a mental health professional for support. It’s okay to ask for help. On-line support groups and social media groups can also be helpful. Life does not have to continue to be scary or overwhelming. There are strategies that can help you navigate through this difficult season.
If you would like to explore professional help, please get in touch with me. I would be very happy to help you through this difficult time. Please know that you don’t have to go through this alone.
Post by Stephanie Sammons, MA, RMHCI, MCAP, IC&RC
I am a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern and Master Certified Addiction Professional that has over 20 years of professional counseling experience using evidence-based approaches in individual counseling, family counseling, and group counseling.