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How to Beat Christmas Anxiety During Pandemic Times

Here are some pointers on how you can overcome pandemic holiday stress.
by Ara Eugenio
Nov 5, 2020
Photo/s: Maria Tan/AFP
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How do you celebrate Christmas when you can't go home to your family? Or if you've lost your job? This year, COVID gives Filipinos more reasons to feel the holiday blues

There is a way around it and it starts with accepting that this coming Christmas will be nothing like past years, said Techie Mendoza, a guidance services specialist from UP Diliman. 

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Christmas requires people to be happy, exacerbating grief over different kinds of loss, from jobs to lovers to death. This holiday season, Mendoza shared these tips to cope with stress and anxiety durimg pandemic times

Accept that Christmas 2020 will be radically different.

The meaning of Christmas will be constant regardless of the circumstance. Don't dwell on our “should, would, or could” do this holiday season. Accept the reality as it is (parties are banned). Instead of focusing on what you lack, shift your attention to the little joys of the present. Creating a gratitude journal can be a good exercise. 

Continue reading below ↓

Lighten your load.

Unburden yourself from unnecessary pressures.  Be realistic with what we can and cannot do. Acknowledge the feelings you have on the things you can't control. Breathe, relax, step back, then identify and focus your energy on what we can act upon. Likewise, don't expect too much from others. Set boundaries and respect those of others.

Re-connect or enjoy solitude.

You can virtually connect with big groups of family and friends. You can physically be with a few family members and/or close friends. You also choose not to, if you prefer to enjoy solitude this Christmas. Focus on what matters to you.

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Plan ahead.

If you are away from family, planning ahead can help. If you spending Christmas alone, think about creating a day that can bring joy or peace (self-care, exercise, relaxing, doing a project that you have put off for too long, spending it in solitude/prayer, or volunteering).

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Have a clearer perspective on things.

If you end up being alone, accept it as it is without judgment. Not being with loved ones this Christmas does not mean that no one cares and that you will always be on your own. Feeding your minds with negative thoughts won't help.

Know your whys.

Maximize a quieter holiday season by having a year-end reflection. What makes you persevere despite the difficulties? It would be good to identify the values for each of the reasons that you listed down. Then, create a visual reminder. It would always be good to stay in touch with what you value.  

Express your feelings.

With family and friends, or on our own, create new Christmas traditions. This might be particularly helpful for those who are still grieving the loss of a loved one. Be gentle with yourself and do what feels best for you. Grieving will be different for each family member. This Christmas, it might be good to plan what you like to do together, or individually, in memory of our dearly departed. 

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Sustain your energy.

We need to look after ourselves. If you are really feeling down and we cannot pull yourself out of it, seek support from family or friends. Reach out to others for help.   

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