Tis the season to be anxious, stressed, and depressed


While the holiday season is typically viewed as the happiest time of the year, it can also bring some unwanted feelings. People may feel some stress, anxiety, and depression during this time. These feelings may be brought on by holiday demands as well as colder temperatures and shorter days.
This holiday season individuals may also be dealing with additional stress on top of regular holiday stress due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). You may feel stressed, sad, or anxious because your holiday plans might have changed due to COVID-19. For example, you may not be able to see your family and keep up your holiday traditions.
Additional stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic include worrying about keeping yourself and your family healthy, possibly not having paid time off from using it for COVID-19 related issues and way more. For individuals who have the tendency to feel low, moody, less motivated, and less excited than usual during the holiday season, the other challenges brought on by the pandemic may further worsen their symptoms.
Here are some tips and tricks to follow if this holiday season starts to take a toll on you. First, acknowledge your feelings! It is always okay to take the time to cry and or express your feelings. Do not force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holidays.
Secondly, reach out! If you are feeling lonely this holiday season, call up a friend, video chat with family members, or volunteer at a local community organization. Keep regular contact with others, even if you are unable to do it in person. It is important to stay connected!
Third, be realistic! This holiday season does not have to be perfect or just like a few years ago. You may even try changing up some of your traditions! For example, instead of traveling try opening gifts via video chat with family out of state.
Fourth, stick to a budget! Decide upon how much you can spend before going gift and food shopping. Do not try to buy yours or other’s happiness with a bunch of or extravagant gifts. People will understand if you do not have the money this holiday season for huge and expensive gifts. You may try some alternatives such as donating to charity in someone’s name, giving homemade gifts, or starting a gift exchange like white elephant.
Fifth, Plan ahead! Set aside specific days for shopping, spending time with friends or family, and study time. Make sure you have enough time for items to come in if you want to shop online. Don’t add stress to yourself by scrambling at the last minute to buy gifts and food ingredients.
Sixth, learn to say no! Saying yes when you know you should have said no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. People will understand if you can’t participate in every single project or activity. You don’t want to overfill your plate, especially while in college.
Seventh, don’t abandon healthy habits! Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Make sure to stay active and exercise. Exercise causes our bodies to produce endorphins, mood-boosting hormones, which helps us fight serotonin and dopamine deficiencies. Remember to also eat healthy. Our diets not only provide us energy, but also impact our mental health. Healthy diets rich in fruits and veggies reduce inflammation in our bodies which can help curb feelings of depression.
Eighth, remember to take a breather! Make some time for yourself in which you take a break or engage in an activity you enjoy. You can partake in mindfulness exercises such as meditation or yoga. Taking a walk can be a good way to take a breather while also gaining some exercise. You want to find something that will reduce your stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing, and restoring your inner calm. It could even be watching your favorite holiday movie!
Lastly, seek professional help if you need it! It is not shameful to seek out help when you are experiencing sadness or anxiousness that impacts your daily life. Call the Student Counseling Services at 806-651-2340 to make an appointment, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services national helpline, or find a psychologist yourself.
Do not let the holidays become something you dread this year. Follow the above steps to help prevent stress and depression from descending on you this holiday season. Hopefully, with a little planning and positive thinking, you can find the joy of this holiday season instead of stress, anxiety, or depression.


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