The holidays are here!  Year after year the holidays almost seem like a finish line to an annual race—the last six weeks of the year are filled with celebrations, gatherings, decorations, special food, and gifts.

In addition to the fun, food, and games there comes something else–Holiday stress.  And this year the Holiday stress may be bigger because of changes brought on by COVID-19 and by all of the other things that are happening uniquely in 2020

What can we do to manage this stress?

Good news!  The answers from previous years will work this year, too.  We can choose to use some everyday wellness practices to help us.  For instance, we can look at our choices of eating.  While the holiday snacks and meals are wonderful, we may feel better if we balance them with regular healthy eating.  That will help to manage stress.  Sometimes our sleep gets off during all of the changes of the holiday schedule.  By paying attention to the quality and amount of sleep, we can enjoy the energy we need to celebrate and be present for ourselves and for our loved ones.  That energy will help us manage holiday stress.  Taking a break from excessive inactivity, we know that walking is a natural antidepressant.  Depending on personal abilities and circumstances, taking walks in nature can make us feel alive and in sync with the life that is found in the outdoors.  This is a refreshing way to enjoy self-care!  In another way, self-care is helped along by sharing our ideas and feelings with people we love.  But sometimes things come up that lead us into needing to talk about things with someone else who will listen.  Reach out!  There are plenty of reasons to share concerns as well as joys. Talking about things makes us feel better and helps us to manage the stress of this 2020 holiday season.

Everything I am saying so far is about things we can choose to do.  I think they can be helpful.  But even more, I hope that you will carve some time out of the busy schedule to enjoy some quiet, peaceful moments of reflection.  There are still so many things that can lead us to feeling grateful.  There are so many things that continue to be meaningful even in a time when so many things seem to be new.

May this time be filled with warmth and goodness for you!

Eric