Managing holiday stress during a pandemic

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The holidays are more stressful than in past years, thanks to the pandemic, but following a few simple tips can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with the holidays and winter. (Getty Images)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – ‘Tis the season to be jolly.

It sounds good, but, in reality, a lot of people are dealing with layers of stressors that come with the holidays, and COVID-19 can be the cherry on top.

So, how do you manage all that mental baggage?

Dr. Hannah Johnson is a clinical pharmacist specializing in behavioral health at the University of Kentucky. She says there are different ways to celebrate the holidays and avoid getting so down in the dumps.

“Whether that be setting up cameras at the dinner table and are planning to eat at the same time,” Dr. Johnson said. “And it actually might end up being even better because more people will participate and doing it virtually.

Life has thrown us a lot of curveballs over the last few months and Dr. Johnson has seen an uptick and her mental health cases.

“There’s a lot of loneliness and stressors of people having to move back with family members,” Dr. Johnson said.

But, on the bright side, she says remain socially close but from a physical distance. Who knows? It might be just as fun.

“I’ve been to somewhere where we send out the ingredients for a recipe, where we send out ingredients for a cocktail or mocktail, we all get to make it together, drink it together virtually,” Dr. Johnson said. “So things like that are alternatives that you can do to have that social connection but doesn’t put people at risk with the physical interaction.”

If you need help during these dark times, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.

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