This has been a difficult year for everyone according to one local psychiatrist with a Briar Creek psychiatric practice. The ongoing pandemic is having an impact on everyone. Unfortunately, this health issue is not going away anytime soon. All of this stress has caused many families to adjust their holiday plans this year. Families should learn new ways of coping with anxiety during the holidays and every day.
It is important for everyone to pay attention to any mental health needs and use good coping strategies to combat signs of high anxiety and inner turmoil. Here are some practical and simple tips for coping with anxiety through these uncertain times.
Try to Keep Your Family’s Regular Routine Whenever Possible
When people are undergoing a significant amount of stress, sticking to a usual routine can be a welcome diversion. This can be especially true for children and teens that have had their learning routines disrupted due to the ongoing health crisis. Kids can get a sense of security by having a regular schedule that includes regular meals and an appropriate bedtime every night.
Follow CDC Guidelines to Avoid Exposure to COVID-19 & Other Illnesses
By now, most families have gotten used to following the CDC mandates in public like wearing masks, washing hands often, keeping socially distant and cleaning more often to keep germs at bay. This should continue even in the home. It is important to take active steps to keep your family safe from exposure to COVID-19 and other common illnesses that occur in the fall and winter months. This could mean changing the usual holiday plans as well.
Steps for Coping with Anxiety During the Holidays This Year
As your family’s holiday routines will likely mean a change from the norm, it is essential to use some practical and simple steps for coping with anxiety during the holiday season this year. A seasoned psychiatrist based in Raleigh, NC, has some excellent coping strategies that are easy to implement.
- Stick to a regular schedule each day
- Try to keep some holiday plans and routines the same
- Get regular exercise & go outside in the fresh air
- Turn off electronics for breaks on a regular basis
- Eat healthy & keep a regular bedtime
- Stay in touch with family and friends through social media, phone chats, and online
- Keep up with schoolwork
- Practice good coping techniques when stress does occur
- Stay ahead of mental health issues & physical health through TeleHealth services if available
Simple Ways to Decrease Anxiety
There are additional ways to decrease overall levels of anxiety should they occur in your household. Practicing these anxiety-reducing strategies can keep stress to a minimum and under control.
Some ideas for decreasing anxiety include:
- Get outdoors in nature
- Use breathing exercises to control anxiety
- Practice meditation or pray on a regular basis
- Stay away from caffeine as much as possible
- Use calming apps for quick mental health breaks throughout the day
- Do fun family games & activities like movie nights or cooking together on weekends
- Practice a positive mindset
- Take medications as prescribed
- Have rest times to give everyone a break during the days of quarantine
- Spend time with your pets or adopt one from a shelter
Hum or Sing with Your Kids or Alone as an Ancient Stress-Buster
Another fun way to lesson those anxious feelings is an old remedy that many cultures have used in past generations and centuries. Humming has been proven to decrease anxiety. Think of the mantras and hums that go with most yoga routines.
When a tone is hummed while using breathing and exercise, the sound vibrate deep in the throat and triggers the body’s endorphins that can lessen pain, depression and anxious feelings. Stress causes people to breathe shallow and fast, and this in turn creates an oxygen deprivation that then triggers those anxious feelings.
Humming while exercising or as a fun activity can reset your body systems restoring balance and improving energy and feelings of well-being. This is one of the best ways to cope with anxiety without resorting to addictive drugs or alcohol.
There Is Hope Because This Will Pass In Time Like Always
Remember that simple distractions can keep your families minds engaged. This can lesson stress and promote a calm mood. Listening to music, playing an instrument or singing can all be terrific methods of coping with anxiety and beating back depression to reach for hope.