5 Tips for Managing Pandemic Holiday Stress

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Playing How to Maintain Strong Mental Health In Times of Adversity

Are the holidays and the ongoing pandemic feeling like too much all at the same time? The Doctors are here to help with tips on how to manage and cope with the stress connected to COVID-19 and the season of celebration.

Dr. Ian Smith is joined by hosts of the podcast "Alec Mapa: Hot Mess with Matthew Dempsey Psychotherapist" to discuss how we can protect our mental health during this festive and challenging time, which can include excess stress, mood swings, getting angry quickly, and serious changes in behavior. 

During moments of frustration, stress, or anger the hosts encourage you to stop and think whether your reaction is proportional to what is actually happening. Alec says, "If it is hysterical, it is historical." If you do snap or get heated, they suggest "own it and apologize."

Matthew shares tips on how to manage the holidays in the midst of a pandemic, suggesting:

  1. Check your expectations - He notes stress can only be managed and "can't be controlled away."
  2. Be honest with yourself ahead of time - The psychotherapist says to first identify what you are able to take on and what you cannot.
  3. Reduce your workload - For instance, he says to try and do as much holiday shopping online, which is less stressful and safer.
  4. Find balance with holiday foods and drinks - Matthew notes that overindulging in food and drink can lead to more stress, feeling bad, and can have adverse effects on the body.
  5. Ask for help - "Open up," he says, adding, "Vulnerability makes us stronger."

Watch: Are You Using Substances to Help Deal with Pandemic Stress?

Watch: A Few Unconventional Tips to Help You Destress

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