Getting through the holidays while living with a mental health disorder is already difficult enough. Trying to manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19 adds another obstacle to navigate this year. It’s a new experience for everyone but those managing mental health struggles have an especially tough season ahead of them.
Restrictions put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus started almost 9 months ago now. They feel different during the holidays, though, a time that traditionally brings people together. Maintaining recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention places limits on most options for typical holiday celebrations.
How can you manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19? You’ve probably dealt with heightened anxiety throughout the year already. Holidays are also hard without the added pressure of reducing the spread of the virus. Not being able to see loved ones this year is going to make it even worse for some.
No matter what your mind might tell you, you can make it through the holiday season this year. It might feel tough but it’s possible to manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19 and make it through to New Years! The following tips can help you get through the next few months while taking care of your mental health.
7 Tips to Manage Holiday Anxiety During COVID-19
Feeling anxious during the holidays is nothing new. Traveling for gatherings or celebrations and reconnecting with family you haven’t seen in a while takes a toll on most people. If you struggle with a mental illness, you’re all too familiar with the obstacles the holiday season can present.
The holiday jitters on top of recommended isolation are enough to make many people uncomfortable. There are a few things you can try out to manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19 though. Even though it’s an unknown experience for everyone, heading into the holiday season with a plan is the best way to maintain your well-being.
1. Set up a holiday season support network
Before the holidays are in full swing, set up a holiday season support network. Reach out to family members or friends who understand the extent of your anxiety. Explain the difficulties that come with the season during a typical year and the added pressure of isolation. Ask if they are willing to hold space as part of your support network over the next few months.
Your holiday season support network is a crucial tool to manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19. It should be a group that knows you well and is willing to take your calls throughout the day or night. Select people who can make themselves available when needed. Try to pick at least one person who can show up in person if the need arises.
2. Celebrate the holidays virtually
Technology has served as a saving grace throughout the pandemic. Video conference calls keep groups connected while FaceTime and other video call apps make it easy to stay in touch individually. One way to combat holiday anxiety is to celebrate virtually with friends or family.
Try to do this especially if you have annual traditions. It can help the time feel slightly more normal. Set up a time for everyone to meet on a Zoom or Google Hangouts call. Everyone can cook their favorite foods and gather on a conference call to eat together and converse. You might not get to meet up in-person but you can gather through the power of technology!
3. Stay connected with friends and family
Stay connected with your friends and family, both those in your holiday support network and those outside of it. Even if you meet up for a virtual family gathering, reach out to your loved ones. Chances are staying connected despite social distancing helps them as much as it helps you.
The calls don’t need to take up hours of your day. All it takes is a few minutes to reach out and let someone know you’re thinking about them and you love them. Trying to manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19 alone isn’t a great plan. Make sure you reach out to people throughout the holiday season to keep you from feeling too isolated.
4. Keep in touch with your care team
If you have a therapist or counselor in place already, make sure you keep in touch with your care team during the holidays. They’ve probably talked to you about your plans for the season already. It’s still good to confirm when you’re able to reach out to your care team and when you need to make use of other avenues.
You can also ask your therapist or counselor for a list of contact numbers if they aren’t available at a particular moment. Having trained professionals on hand during the holidays can be a life-saving preparation. It can be a difficult time and you want to be as prepared as possible.
5. Have a holiday party with your household
Do you live in a household with a roommate or two? Have a holiday party with your household! If everyone in your pod limits their exposure you can even have something resembling a traditional holiday meal.
Cut the prepared portions to accommodate a smaller gathering and encourage each person to bring their favorite dish to the table. You can all cook together to get in the holiday spirit and combat any of your lingering holiday anxiety. If your household is concerned about spreading the virus, each person can cook their own meal but you can still eat together!
6. Check in with yourself throughout the season
Staying in touch with others is important but you also should check in with yourself throughout the season. How will you know what kind of support you need if you aren’t looking inward and asking yourself how you’re doing?
Make sure to touch base with yourself daily and see whether you’d benefit from some extra help. Spend time in meditation, write in a journal, or use whichever method of reflection you prefer. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself during this difficult time.
7. Seek additional support if necessary
There’s nothing wrong with seeking additional assistance if necessary. You might need to check into an inpatient facility for a few weeks if the season proves too hard to manage alone. Inpatient mental health rehab will provide dedicated support to get you on track and feeling safe enough to manage your holiday anxiety during COVID-19.
You won’t be alone if you realize you need some additional structure during the next few months. Many different people will find they can’t make it through the holiday season without intensive aid. You can find comprehensive care at a certified residential treatment facility with knowledgeable staff and understanding peers.
Finding Help for Your Mental Illness
If you’re concerned about making it through the holiday season, Pasadena Villa is here to help. Our certified mental health treatment facility provides premier care to adults with cognitive, emotional, and mental disorders. We understand the year has been exceptionally difficult and we’re available to assist you.
Pasadena Villa offers multiple levels of care depending on your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for outpatient support or a residential structure, we can help. Reach out to our admissions staff today to speak with someone who can explain more about our programs and answer any questions you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!