Avera Medical Minute: Tips to reduce stress during the holiday season

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 6:03 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The holidays can be stressful in any given year. Add in the pandemic and the stress can become unbearable. Lindsey Krueger with Avera Outpatient Behavioral Health offers insight on handling stress in this question and answer series.

Q: How can we navigate through the holiday season, knowing things will not be the same this year?

A: I think it’s okay to acknowledge that you’re sad that some of your holiday traditions aren’t being met this year, but it’s kind of trying to take a step back after you’ve done that and think about the special ways that you can still enjoy the holiday and really just trying to make the most of it.

Q: Do we need to change our expectations for this holiday season compared to other years?

A: Yes. What causes a lot of the stress is that people put on these huge unrealistic expectations, and then life happens when things don’t turn out exactly like you wanted them to.

Q: And what are some indicators that a loved one could be showing some signs of stress?

A: If you notice that somebody is more irritable, it seems like they’re doing all of this stuff for Christmas, or one of the other holidays, and they’re just not enjoying it. If they’re not engaging with people, are all good signs to check in with somebody and see how they’re doing.

Q: What advice you have for someone that’s making it through this season for the first time after losing someone close to them?

A: I usually recommend that people think about a way to still include that person in their holiday celebration. So, whether that’s purchasing a special ornament and having that on your tree or maybe it’s baking something that that person enjoyed.

Q: What else do we need to know about enjoying the season and not getting too stressed out over the holidays?

A: Well, the virtual option is always good. Doing like baking or holiday crafts, or watching movies or Christmas specials over something like zoom. So being able to have festive holiday wear on zoom calls. I can have my light-up sweater, have my holiday glasses, just making the most of what you can do this holiday season instead of focusing on what’s not happening.

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