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For many, the holidays are a joyful time to spend with loved ones. For others, they can take a toll on mental and physical health. During the coronavirus pandemic, the holidays can bring a new set of stressors as individuals navigate safe celebrations under social distancing.

Before holiday stress becomes overwhelming, try these five prevention tactics.

Check in with yourself.

How are you feeling? Performing a quick evaluation of your emotional health allows you to address your emotions and move forward. Know that if you are experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one or separation from family and friends, it is normal and acceptable to express those emotions.

Let go of expectations.

The holidays don’t always turn out the way we plan, and that is OK – they don’t have to be perfect. If you can’t gather in person with your loved ones this year due to COVID-19, find new ways to celebrate together, such as meeting virtually on a Zoom call or sharing pictures, emails or videos. Even though your holiday plans may look different this year, you can still find meaningful ways to celebrate.

Say no.

If the idea of attending that holiday engagement is creating unnecessary discomfort and anxiety, say no. Loved ones will understand if you can’t participate in every activity. Removing uncomfortable items from your schedule will lessen the holiday pressure.

Practice self-care.

If you notice feelings of stress, take care of yourself before attending to that grocery list or holiday party RSVP. Perform activities you enjoy and that simply make you feel good. Actions such as taking a walk, listening to music, reading a book and making sure you get plenty of rest will put your mind at ease and benefit your physical health, too.

Find a support system.

When you feel anxious or depressed, reach out to family, friends or members of your community for support. Becoming involved in local groups or clubs in an appropriate, socially distanced way can help you forge new friendships and find additional outlets for stress relief. And if feelings of depression or sadness are still preventing you from enjoying your daily life, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.

Oceans can help. From our inpatient services to our intensive outpatient programs, our team of caregivers is dedicated to addressing patients’ mental and physical needs. You can learn more about our services at www.oceanshealthcare-dev.idevdesign.net.

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