Ohio University

The holidays and COVID-19 stress

The holidays and COVID-19 stress

In normal times, the holiday season can typically be overwhelming for many folks. This particular year has given rise to additional stressors. Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is aware that COVID-19 cases are on the rise, family plans are ever changing, and the winter season is finally upon us. A sense of increased stress and anxiety can occur. CPS would like to offer some practical mental health tips for students to have a healthy holiday season.

  1. Try and prepare yourself mentally for the holidays. The holidays do not have to be perfect or meet everyone’s expectations.  Be realistic about family traditions and rituals. Finding ways to celebrate will look different than past years. Use your creative mind and be open to new traditions. 
  2. Make safe choices. Once you have identified your plans, consider how to make them as safe as possible. Understandably, everyone is tired of wearing a mask and being limited on traveling and social engagements; however, continuing those efforts to protect yourself and others will make a significant impact in both  short- and long-term efforts to keep you and your loved ones safe.
  3. Respond to feelings of being overwhelmed. Remember to recognize and acknowledge what you are feeling. The holidays can feel like a time of happiness but can also be a time of grief and loss. You do not have to force yourself to be happy because it is the holidays.
  4. Find the positives. Plan fun activities or things to do since the weather is turning colder. If a snow day occurs, maybe enjoy snow activities, like sledding or building a snowperson. Plan a movie night with friends or family within your ‘quaranteam.’ Or, plan a dinner or craft night. There are plenty of good ideas waiting to be started!