How to Cope with COVID-19 and Christmas Stressors

If you’re quarantining or trying to decide whether it’s safe to visit family, there are ways to help ease your mind

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Many of us are feeling a little overwhelmed this Christmas, especially with the new COVID-19 variant.

University of San Diego clinical mental health professor, Carrie Tremble said what’s causing our anxiety is really beyond our control.

“We can’t control that there’s a virus, we can’t control that there’s a new variant. We can’t control that we’re getting new guidelines from scientists and the government,” Tremble said. “Focus on what you can control. Even if it’s, 'Am I going to make chicken or turkey or a vegetarian entrée for my holiday dinner.' Just focusing on that little thing you can control, can be so empowering.”

Kaiser Permanente psychiatrist Dr. Gabriel White also wants to empower people with stress management tips to keep anxiety at bay.

“Trying to slow down our breathing and focus then on slow deep breaths in and slowly exhaling out and during that time we’re trying to refocus our mind off of whatever worrying thing we might have going through it,” White said. “Go to your happy place, which in my field is called guided imagery where you’re kind of imagining seeing a beach or a mountain or you know whatever our happy place is and try to think about it in detail. Sometimes people use those stress balls, and they squeeze on them to try to help release stress. There’s meditation, there’s mindfulness.”

Getting more sleep, eating a well-balanced diet, limiting caffeine, exercising and maintaining an attitude of gratitude can also ease any type of stress, White said.

Both professionals also recommend limiting how much pandemic-related news we're taking in. Pick a time of day to catch up on important updates and don’t bombard yourself with all the overwhelming information.

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