The Covid -19 Pandemic gave me an opportunity to heal and find myself. However, I also experience an enormous amount of anxiety. Racism, sickness, death, isolation and uncertainty a little less that two years under executive order mandates and now force vaccine policies that affect our livelihoods.
This holiday season may just be the first time people have had the opportunity to spend time with their families and love ones. However, Covid PTSD and SAD may hinder the great reunion of 2021.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.
1. You’re Lacking the “Holiday Spirit”
Being surrounded by cheeriness can be stigmatizing when you don’t feel the same level of enthusiasm as others.
The pressure to be social, happy, and present can make it difficult to speak up if you feel otherwise. You may also feel left out if your spiritual traditions aren’t the dominant ones on display this time of year.
What You Can Do About It
- Recognize that you don’t need to force yourself to be happy and that it’s good to acknowledge feelings that aren’t joyful; remember that you are not alone in feeling this way
- Avoid numbing or avoiding feelings by using alcohol or other substances, which worsen anxiety and depression
- If possible, surround yourself with people who feel similarly; celebrate your traditions or create new ones
2. You’re Overwhelmed by Grief and Loss
If you are living with grief, loss, trauma, or loneliness, it can be easy to compare your situation to others’, which can increase feelings of loneliness or sadness. Take time to check in with yourself and your feelings and have realistic expectations for how the holiday season will be.
3. You’re Feeling Pressured to Participate in Activities—and Want No Part of Them
We all have our own personal history with holidays. We dream about the ways the holidays are supposed to be, which can be a dangerous perspective.
What You Can Do About It
- Accept your limitations and be patient with others too
- Try to see others’ points of view and recognize that we’re all feeling at least a little stressed—especially this year
- Prioritize the most important activities or schedule get-togethers for after the holidays: If you feel overwhelmed by social obligations and what others are asking of you, learn how to be comfortable saying “no”
- Expectations to celebrate holidays in a specific way can bring up old trauma or family conflicts; for self-care, consider outlining your plan for the season
- Speaking of self-care, make a schedule of when you will do your shopping, baking, cleaning—and be sure to schedule time to take care of yourself
- You may choose not to celebrate at all—instead of spending the holidays the way you think you should, you might opt for an activity you actually feel like doing—whether it’s making a favorite dish or having a Netflix marathon
- Regardless of your plans, it can be helpful to communicate intentions to friends and family early in the holiday season so everyone knows what to expect
4. You’re Stressed About Giving Gifts
5. There’s Not Much Sunlight at All, and It’s Affecting Your Mood
What You Can Do About It
Try to get as much sunlight as possible.
To boost your mood and regulate sleep, schedule outdoor exercise in the middle of the day when the sun is brightest. If you can, work near a window throughout the day. Even outfitting your home with warm, bright lighting can help improve your mood. Many traditions this time of year incorporate candles and twinkling lights for a reason.
6. You’re Alone or Feeling Isolated
While it’s true that many of us have friends and family to connect with during the holiday season, there’s also the danger of becoming isolated. If you are predisposed to depression or anxiety, it can be especially hard to reach out to others.
What To Do About It
Remind yourself of the people, places, and things that make you feel happy.
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