By: Destini Seals
With coronavirus still rearing its ugly head, the holidays are going to look a little different this year.
For many people holidays are already anxiety-filled and very stressful, but with limitations on gatherings and travel it may begin to feel more tense.
It is important to find ways to manage anxiety, depression, and stress. On the next page you will find tips for conquering this holiday season and important symptoms to look out for so you can feel, acknowledge, understand and reach out for help if necessary.
If you have most or all of these symptoms every day for at least two weeks, please reach out to Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s Behavioral Health department:
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Feeling sad or anxious
- Constant anxious, sad or “empty” feelings
- Loss of interest in things you once found pleasurable
- Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
Below are some ways to manage anxiety, stress and depression during this holiday season.
- Acknowledge your feelings. Being forced to cancel long-time traditions can lead to sadness, anger and loneliness, which are all valid feelings. Take some time to acknowledge those feelings and understand that things may look different. Just because you may not gather with family and friends in person, it doesn’t mean you can’t do other activities. You can do drive-by visits, video chat while baking and much more. There are many creative and new routes to spend time with family and friends virtually.
- Relaxation techniques. To get your breathing under control when you’re anxious, follow these steps:
- Sit in a quiet and comfortable place.
- Put one of your hands on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Take a slow and regular breath in through your nose. Watch and sense your hands as you breathe in. The hand on your chest should remain still while the hand on your stomach will move slightly.
- Breathe out through your mouth slowly. Your stomach should move more than your chest while doing these exercises.
- Repeat this process at least 10 times or until you begin to feel your anxiety lessen.
- Plan ahead. Before you do your grocery and general shopping, decide on how much money you want to spend and stick to your budget. Also, sit down and make a list of specific days to do certain things. That can include, but is not limited to, grocery shopping, gift shopping, or planning menus. Making lists when you go shopping makes the trip less stressful and can also prevent last-minute scrambling.
- Healthy Habits. Healthy habits are good to have to prevent stress or feeling overwhelmed.
- Get plenty of rest
- Get active
- Connect with others
- Make time to unwind
- Take your vitamins to support your immune system
- Reach out. Remember that it is OK to reach out to family, friends or a mental health professional if you feel any of the symptoms mentioned earlier. You can reach out with a text message, phone call or video chat. Try to allow someone to help you in your time of need, regardless of the reason.
We’re aware that we are living in a time of uncertainty but please know that Oklahoma City Indian Clinic is here for you if you ever feel like you need a listening ear or resources.
Remember, you can enjoy the holiday seasons with family and friends in new and safe ways. For more information or assistance, please call Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s Behavioral Health department at (405) 948-4900 ext. 623.