Dealing with Stress, Depression and Aniexty Durning the Holidays Amist COVID


Joseph Meyer

27 November 2021 0 comments

The holidays can be one of the most difficult times to get through lasting two long months of November to December starting as early as October for some as the reminders start to come earlier each year. Thanksgiving and especially Christmas can lead to many to fall into depression and even many leading to suicide. One can wonder but understands the holidays are stressful, lonely and for many a huge financial cost of being merry.

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As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, I know the pressures many face during these times. Over years the pressure has not led up to those hard times, but I feel them always around the corner. Growing up in Los Angeles, south central Los Angeles to be exact, a place know for high crime, violence and gangs.

Part of what led to my depression during those times was the fact that I had a grandfather who verbally abused me from childhood and the holidays were a stressful time and not a time of joy , even on Christmas day, but mom tried.  The happiest moments were filled with the delicious smells of moms cooking, where a turkey, a ham or roast and of course got to drink soda pop and eat sweets, a tradition I carry on today.

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To me the holidays are one of the most important times to spend with family, putting aside the gift giving, but just time to connect with each other. Some may not always have those individuals in their life especially a good friend which makes these times particularly difficult. Even for someone who now has my personal life in a much better place then years past it can still be stressful with everywhere you go, stores filled, covid, and always money never being enough.

Its amazing how many of equate money to happiness especially during these times, but there are some practical ways to minimize the stress that accompany the holidays.

Look on the Bright side and be positive is a good start but not reflecting on the things you think are more valuable than your mental health like material things. Self-care is really what gets you through these times, whether its exercising, eating right and working to relax.

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What can be especially stressful is family themselves, especially around the dinner table and lets not forget the discussions whether its politics and religion which can make many uneasy and even angry. Setting boundaries can help everyone involved know what is expected and what will not be tolerated “Whether it be making your own schedule, telling someone how things will be different this year or simply saying “No”, setting boundaries and being your own boss can hep you with stress and guilt.”

As mentioned, money issues can overwhelm individuals and families during this time of the year as we want to give to our families and children but trying to do that when making ends meet which can be daunting for many. Make a budget for all you will need for the holidays and try your best to stick to it. It may not be worth it to overextend yourself and then having to pay for it later.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one

The year was 2015, December 9th to be exact when my mother unexpectedly passed away as myself, my wife, daughter and sister were at the happiest place on earth Disneyland. I will never forget that year which despite my family being there was lonely and incredibly sad. Feelings of grief and loss often compound around the holidays.  Remember its ok to take time to cry and express your feelings, and you can not force yourself to be happy during the holiday season.

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Its so important to reach out if your feeling lonely and isolated, which can be easy during these COVID times. Local groups, churches or other community organization have support groups to engage either by phone, in person or by web and social media. If you are feeling stress during the holidays talk to a friend, or family about your concerns, try reaching out with a text, a call or video chat.

For some, COVID is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of holiday stressors. Many continue to weigh the pros and cons of celebrating with family this year. It’s a very difficult choice to make when you or someone close to you is high risk. When you have family members who aren’t particularly impacted or concerned about COVID, it can create additional complications, they are less likely to take safety precautions during a gathering and more likely to pressure you to attend.

Reach out to a counselor or professional if you are struggling and your ability to cope is unsuccessful, don’t go at it alone.

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Let’s all try to enjoy these times, take a deep breath as you step into the malls, but if malls overwhelm you, shop online and let the professionals deliver to you. Kick up, relax, enjoy a tall glass of eggnog (Yum) , a hearty meal and don’t forget to watch your holiday classics, mine are Christmas Vacation and It’s a wonderful Life.

If you do need to talk to someone reach out to :

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

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