Women’s Health: Managing stress/coping with grief during the holidays

Women's Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Stress and grief can be compounded by the holidays. Add in the coronavirus pandemic and that stress or grief can lead to depression, particularly for women who are already more likely to experience depression around the holidays, according to the American Psychological Association.

There are ways women can “organize the chaos”, said Dr. Julie Morison, Psychologist, Founder, and Director of HPA/LiveWell. One of those ways is realizing worry adds to the chaos.

The days leading up to a holiday should be as joy-filled as the day(s) of the holiday. It should not feel like bungee jumping when the fun happens only at the end, nor should the holidays feel like a fire drill, said Dr. Morison.

Managing stress during the holidays

  • Accept imperfection
  • Don’t lose sight of what really matters
  • Respond with kindness
  • Rethink resolutions

* Source: John Hopkins Medicine

Images portrayed in movies and pictures on social media are viewed through a lens, with multiple retakes. Sometimes people fall into the trap of comparing their holiday to pictures on social media. Dr. Morison said it’s important to realize different means different, but not necessarily better or worse.

Grief and loss are not always about missing someone who has died, people also grieve over the loss of traditions or life prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Morison said staying realistic about expectations will help avert negative feelings. She said the best thing people can do is act the opposite of negative feelings.

Coping with grief during the holidays

  • Trust that grief is part of the healing process
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Focus on what can be controlled
  • Plan ahead
  • Allow feeling a wide range of emotions
  • Create a way to honor memories of a lost loved one
  • Make new traditions
  • Do something kind for another person
  • Ask for help

*Source: Psychology Today

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