Psychologist shares tips for managing holiday stress during the pandemic

Psychologist shares tips for managing holiday stress during the pandemic

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Stress from the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of millions of people, and now it’s time for the holidays.

Virginia Medical Center experts say managing the season will look a lot different this year.

“Right now, the stress is just much higher than years,” said licensed clinical psychologist for Virginia Medical Center, Dominique Boone.

2020 has been a year as been like no other. Clinical psychologist, Dominique Boone, says people with and without pre-existing mental health issues will likely see intensified symptoms this year.

“Some things like increased sadness, difficultly sleeping and perhaps even irritability,” said Boone.

But Boone says there are several proactive steps you can take to cope.

“Through diet and exercises, or through connecting with mental health professionals - there’s so many cool apps and online supports groups,” said Boone. “I also recommend journaling, so taking some time to be quiet with yourself.”

Along with that Boone says to practice gratitude, choose to look at the positives around you instead of the negatives and to think of your wellness within that fulfills you.

“Who am I as a person, what’s important to me, what is meaningful to me, what is my sense of purpose, my identity, what makes me fulfilled, who am I as a whole being,” said Boone.

As we approach the final stretch of the year, the holidays will no doubt be different this year. Boone says although we have physical distance, we still can still have social closeness.

“Virtually is not what everyone wants to hear, it doesn’t make us feel the closeness, but something is better than nothing,” said Boone.

And that a phone call goes a long way.

“We absolutely can not go at it alone. Even the toughest of us that bounces back need people. We need people, we need community and we need connection," said Boone.

Boone also recommends making new connections within your workplace setting or in the day-to-day places that you normally go to, that way you won’t be alone this holiday season and will have friends once the pandemic is over.

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