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Five ways to help cope with holiday stress during a pandemic

Nov 25, 2020, 9:31 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY — The pandemic has taken its toll on many throughout the state as cases in Utah continue to hit record levels. Whether it’s exhaustion, finances, or just not being able to be with our friends and family in person, many might start to experience a new type of holiday stress.

Luckily, there are ways to help ease that holiday stress. 

Curb our expectations

There is no other way to say it — this year the holidays will look a little different. Gov. Gary Herbert has stated that there won’t be limitations on an individual’s home. He does recommend minimizing the risk to ourselves and our families by limiting in-person engagements, though.

By doing our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19, we can get back to living a normal lifestyle as soon as possible.

Understanding that the holidays will be different compared to years past can be a great way to help manage the upcoming holiday stress.

Use a video conference tool to stay connected

Many of us have acclimated to the life of Zoom, Teams, or Skype to manage our tasks throughout the day.

These video conference-type tools can be incredibly beneficial to staying engaged with our family members during the holidays.

While it might not be as comforting as in person, these tools can help us stay connected with our families.

Be grateful for the things we do have

Studies have shown that just being thankful can make you happier and a little can go a long way towards being grateful.

Being able to appreciate the good things that we do have right now is an easy way to cultivate positivity that only gets stronger the more you do it.

Here are a couple of different ways to bring more gratitude into your life:

Start a gratitude journal – A gratitude journal can be as simple as a notebook that you write what you are thankful for in life. You can also write down all of the benefits and gifts that you have in life that brings you happiness. That way if you ever feel down, you can turn to your journal. This simple activity will also remind you of all of the positive aspects of your life.

Appreciate everything – As we focus on the amazing things we do have in life, we can begin to overshadow what negative aspects of our daily lives might bring. 

Practice Mindfulness – One of the most effective ways to be grateful is to be more mindful. By being more mindful, we allow ourselves to look inward to ourselves and slow down. We can focus on one thing at a time and breathe with a calmer mind. 

Stay active 

Just getting outside and enjoying all of what Utah has to offer can help with the holiday stress. 

Studies have shown that physical exercise can help lower the risk of depression by 30%.

The exercises you do can also be very basic and simple. They can be having a walk around your neighborhood or going for a hike in Utah’s beautiful terrain. You can even start by doing simple exercises at your own home.

Just breathe

Lastly, one of the easiest ways to fight off holiday stress is to just take a second and breathe.

Just by breathing, we allow ourselves to be more present and focus on the things that truly matter in life.

This can be one of the most impactful and easiest things to do to clear your mind and see things in a different manner.

While it’s very simple to just breathe, there are plenty of different exercises that can help you focus on combatting holiday stress.

Listen to the Project Recovery podcast to learn more about how to manage holiday stress

For more information on opioid prevention or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or Know Your Script. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

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Five ways to help cope with holiday stress during a pandemic