With recommendations and restrictions put in place on how we gather for the holidays, this could be stressful for people who are not able to celebrate with family. We spoke to a doctor about what you can do to navigate the holiday season during a pandemic.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or at least it’s supposed to be. Dr. Charles Chamblee is a Behavioral Services Director who says, “I think we need to make sure we are looking at the safety first and defer some of those family gatherings.”
From wearing a mask, staying socially distanced, to celebrating virtually or apart altogether, we are faced with tough decisions.
Dr. Chamblee says, “I’ve heard lots of folks who want to share that same sentiment at different times of the year so they may choose to do Christmas in July.” Figuring out how to spend the holidays in a pandemic is causing worry, stress, and anxiety in a season that’s supposed to be full of cheer. Dr. Chamblee says to help put those to rest people can start with looking at their diet, exercise, sleep and self care. He continues, “those are four areas that we can use to gain some control of worry and anxiety in our lives.”
Once you acknowledge and focus on improving those key areas, there are some free apps on your phone you can refer to, PTSD Coach and Smiling Mind. Dr. Chamblee suggests, “breathing exercises, calming noises, a walk through of progressive muscle relaxation. Things like that, that folks can have in their pocket with them, if they’re seeing stress come up, just pop it out, put in some ear buds and there you go.” These are also helpful techniques for people dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that relates to changes in the seasons and occurs during the same time each year. For most, it happens during the winter months. Dr. Chamblee tells us, “recognize that just because we traditionally celebrate holidays this time of year, doesn’t mean that would be the best time to do it this year.”
Make sure you are calling your family and friends and checking on them and see how they are doing during these challenging times.