If the holidays this year have been too tough given the pandemic and all the challenges we continue to face with it, we should all still make an effort to get out of the rut in which we’ve all been forced. In fact, with 2020 coming to an end, we should all the more embrace it with renewed hope, especially with a vaccine in the horizon and if you are lucky enough to find yourself and the rest of your loved ones healthy and thriving today despite what happened.
Changing your feelings and outlook may not happen overnight, but there remain to be ways you can do to lighten your emotions and enhance your effectiveness and functionality for a brighter and better year ahead. Do start today.
Make an effort to normalize feelings of anxiety
It is normal to be anxious during the pandemic or whenever you are subjected to any stressful situation, especially during this holiday season. It becomes harmful when you “catastrophize” and focus on the worst-case scenarios which, more often than not, do not usually happen. Be more realistic on the way you look at things and focus on the best.
Reach out to family and friends
Oftentimes, when a person gets stressed, they have the tendency to avoid others or even isolate. Our brain is wired in such a way that we do not want to be a burden to other people. If you find yourself with this mindset, please reach out to others. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your family, friends and loved ones.
Establish a routine
Confined in our own homes for almost a year now, our concept of time may have been disrupted or boundaries have disappeared. It is very likely that you will bring this along with you during yuletide and it might even worsen. Establish a daily routine and schedule to maintain a semblance of order and a sense of normalcy.
Take care of your bodily health
Having a healthy body helps maintain a healthy mind. If you get sick, you will worry all the more.
Eat healthy food and hydrate yourself
Be mindful of the food you eat. As much as possible, you should consume those which are good for the body or are not hazardous to your health. Drink a lot of water.
Get enough sleep
Use the remaining days of the holidays to catch up on your sleep. A regular bedtime routine is a good step towards a better night’s sleep. Switch off gadgets or devices or put them in silent mode and put them away at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Be active while having a bit of fun. Exercise releases endorphins, chemicals that relieve stress and pain in the body. Thus, the more you exercise, the happier you may become.
Engage in self-care
Take time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Be kind to yourself through a regular self-care, which helps you become stronger and more resilient when you deal with stress. Engage in activities you really enjoy, find meaningful or relaxing, such as gardening, massage, yoga, playing with your pets, fixing your room or making art.
Adopt a gratitude mindset
Due to recent events, it is possible that some of us might have become less hopeful or optimistic, thinking that there is nothing much to anticipate. Try to look at the brighter side and be grateful even with little things and accomplishments. It makes you affirm the goodness around you and helps you turn your attention to things that make life worth living.
The author is a registered guidance counselor, currently practicing at the wellness center of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. His detailed tips were recently presented during the General Assembly for the school’s Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management Department. The inputs were a consolidation of the insights of Dr. Jose Alberto Reyes of De La Salle University and the Be Well Notes regularly published by Benilde Well-Being Center. Ronald Catacutan finished his MA in Counseling at De La Salle University-Manila.