Managing Mental Health During a COVID-19 Holiday Season

It is hard to believe the holiday season is upon us:  2020 has blown by and has been a blur for many. Nonetheless, here we are; and November and December bring celebrations such as Diwali, Thanksgiving, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s – and they will most certainly look different this year.

How do we and our patients make decisions about whether to gather in our traditional ways – or not – and how do we all emotionally manage change?

While the holidays can be a difficult time for some due to loss or other trauma, many look forward to the gatherings and energy that comes with the time of year and the traditions they have participated in since childhood. However, considering the pandemic due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many are facing tough decisions and struggling to manage the stress, depression, and anxiety that comes along with such change.

There are great resources online for managing the holidays in the COVID-19 environment, and some are included below. As providers, take note of these resources and talk openly with your patients about how they are feeling; share ways that they can make the best of a challenging situation. Perhaps you will have an opportunity to share something that you will be doing differently.  Sometimes it’s helpful to our patients to remember that we are in it with them. Just remember – the priority is to stay safe, minimize risk of exposure and spread of coronavirus, and to recognize symptoms of depression and anxiety that may warrant treatment. Encourage counseling and prescribe or refer for medication as appropriate.

Let us try to find the silver lining; and if we can’t find one – let’s create one with new traditions and a safe holiday season.

Managing Mental Health During the Holidays

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