COVID-19 has completely changed the way that we live and interact with each other. The global pandemic has unfortunately brought much stress and problems to many people. A mix of unemployment, isolation, and mental health problems have been the cause of much pain and trouble throughout the course of the pandemic. Sadly, as a result, some people will turn to alcohol or other drugs to cope with their problems.
As the holiday season comes around, it is important to practice a healthy state of mind. While this holiday season may be lonelier and a lot more isolated, it’s still important to stay mentally healthy. Thus, there are practices and frames of mind you can use to stay more positive and aware of your problems. Even though things may be different and not what we wanted, it’s how we deal with these adversities that matters in the long run.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health or drug addiction, Florida Center for Recovery is here to help. Our rehab follows all the guidelines necessary for safe and effective treatment during the pandemic. Just because the world has changed doesn’t mean you can’t get the help that you need. Don’t wait any longer, let us help you today.
How COVID-19 has Affected the Holidays
With COVID-19 in our midst, the 2020 holidays are very different from any previous holiday season. Instead of being able to gather around the dinner table in person, we’re forced to speak with our loved ones virtually.
More than that, people are struggling to even put food on the table or presents under the tree due to businesses closing down and people losing their jobs. This unfortunate series of events has caused distress in the lives of many families and loved ones. As a result, many people must adapt to an isolated and safer holiday.
Isolation is a hard thing for many people to do. As a result, COVID-19 has taken a toll on many people’s mental health.
To make matters worse, many families have lost family members to the virus. Many others have loved ones who are sick.
All of these problems have caused much stress and pain. As we look forward to a better 2021, it’s important to practice healthy habits for the mind and body.
Preparing for the Holidays (During the Coronavirus)
Those with preexisting mental illnesses may have an especially tough time during this holiday season. Uncertainty and isolation can also add fuel to the fire if you are struggling with a mental disorder during the holidays.
Many people might feel a loss of control due to the current pandemic and the shift of the season that it causes. In fact, change in itself can be extremely tough for some people. This difficulty of dealing with pain is only heightened when dealing with a mental disorder during a pandemic.
Still, it’s important to look at some of the positive ways that you can prepare for the holidays. While it may feel like you have lost control this holiday season, it’s important to remember that you always have control.
You can still find enjoyment and joy during the holidays this year. By practicing awareness and coping with your personal harsh feelings, you can find a silver lining to going through the holidays during a pandemic.
Understand What You’ve Lost
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has taken away jobs, family members, and access to millions of people. While the holidays are usually about looking back at the good times or being thankful, this holiday season, take time to honor the loved ones you aren’t able to see or those you’ve lost.
You can also look at other things you’ve lost such as a job, school changes, or other challenges. If you haven’t lost much this year, take a moment to acknowledge the changes that you’ve had to go through.
Identify How You Are Feeling
Honestly, thinking and pinpointing exactly what you are feeling can make things a lot more manageable during the holidays. In fact, during these times, it seems as though there are a lot of different thoughts and emotions roaming through our heads.
It’s important to depack these thoughts and help understand them. When doing so, you may reailize that it is more than just the fact that it’s the holidays that is causing stress.
Overall, this year has been difficult. Thus, it’s natural to be feeling sad or negative. Journaling, talking with someone, or quietly unpacking your thoughts can be great for managing your mental health. Whatever technique you choose, truly understanding your inner thoughts this holiday season can go a long way.
Make the Best out of Your Situation
Many things in your life that cause stress or pain are usually things you can’t control. However, this doesn’t mean you have to cancel your holidays altogether. You can make the best of the situation and still enjoy your own holiday.
Send gifts to your family, make a meal, carve a pumpkin, or celebrate in your own way by doing something that you enjoy. There are a few things that you can do to spice things up without completely canceling your holidays. Host a family zoom call or plan a little outdoor gathering if possible.
If loneliness is what is affecting your mental health, think about video calls or phone calls. Try to stay connected with others this holiday season. It may not be the same, but it’s worth doing for the sake of connection.
While this year has been extremely tough for many, there is always something to be thankful for. No matter how bad things get or how your mental health may be affected, think about what you have. Try to think of all the things you are thankful for this year.
Be thankful for staying physically healthy, or perhaps zone in on something more specific like you’re favorite TV show being on. If you are lucky to be around loved ones, be grateful that they are safe and together with you. Even if you are alone, there is so much to be grateful for, big snd small.
While it can be pretty tough to see the silver lining in the situation, it is possible and can be a positive change. Many of us don’t like change, but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Find time to be thankful despite the change, and let your loved ones or friends know. Making an effort regardless of your mental health state can be useful in the short and long-term. Thus, practice being grateful for the small things.
Be Realistic About Cancelled Holiday Plans
It can be easy to throw in the towel and focus on what once was when it comes to the holidays. What we fail to realize though is that there are a lot of stressful factors that we don’t have to deal with this season.
It is not healthy to dwindle on the plans we once had in place. It’s important to be realistic and think about the long to-do lists, long days of travel, and other things you no longer have to worry about. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be joyful about the situation but embrace the change, try something new this year!
Practice the 4 A’s of Stress Relief
One of the ways you can adapt and handle stress is by practicing the 4 A’s: Avoid, alter, accept, adapt. These are proven ways to deal with your stress in a healthy and deliberate manner. Your mental health may be affected due to the pandemic but that doesn’t mean you can’t adapt and manage your stress in a healthy way. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:
- Avoid – Avoiding a stressor altogether is a great way to relieve stress. This involves taking control of your surroundings and avoiding people/things that bother you.
- Alter – An attempt to change the source that is bringing you stress. Communicate openly and honestly with those around you. Set boundaries and manage your time as well.
- Accept – This is essential for times where you have no control over the situation. Learn from mistakes, talk to people around you, and learn from forgiveness.
Adapt – Adapting to your surrounding is key to managing stress in your life. Adjusting your standards, reframing your issues, and looking at the bigger picture can be very beneficial. Adapting a mantra and being positive with yourself can go a long way.
Get Professional Help Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from a severe mental health disorder or illness, consider getting professional help. Just because a pandemic is going on doesn’t mean the child has to suffer alone.
At Florida Center for Recovery, we want to help you during this holiday season. With comprehensive care, we can help you towards a better 2021 and a smooth recovery. We also follow all COVID-19 guidelines for safe treatment. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and how we can help you today.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.