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Coping with Holiday Stress

If holidays weren’t stressful enough, add a global pandemic to the mix.  Many endure increased family interactions and responsibilities, financial stress and ‘obligations’ to buy, and long nights and short days. “This year has really pushed many of us to dig deep into how we cope with stress and has come with the added difficulties […]

Video chat of family in the holidays

If holidays weren’t stressful enough, add a global pandemic to the mix.  Many endure increased family interactions and responsibilities, financial stress and ‘obligations’ to buy, and long nights and short days.

“This year has really pushed many of us to dig deep into how we cope with stress and has come with the added difficulties of limiting us on how we can cope with our stressors due to COVID precautions/limitations,” Phillip Hawley, PsyD, primary care behavioral health program director said.

The Winter in the Northwest comes with long dark nights and short colder days.

“This can be challenging and leads to us needing to prioritize sunlight hours to do some movement (not just exercise) and be outside even for short periods of time,” Hawley added.

Holidays, Traditions, and Cultural/Societal norms put a lot of stress on people during this time. Hawley says, the best way to combat added stress is to talk with your friends and family

  1. Set gift limits/cost limits (little kids sometimes play with the box more than the toy)
  2. Share resources
  3. Think of ways to connect even when not physically close.
  4. Find a way to practice your family’s values in a way that cost zero dollars

Hawley adds: We sometimes are our own worst enemies when it comes to how we think about ourselves. Our thoughts and sometimes even our own speech can be very negative to ourselves.

This Hawley encourages everyone to say this everyday (many times if you need to):

‘In this moment I am choosing to be kind to myself. Despite not doing, what I should or what I feel like I need to do; I accept myself as someone who deserves compassion. Today I am going to keep trying my best to do the things I know I should, but I am also going to be gentle to myself when I fall short. I will work to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. I will recognize that often things are out of my control. I am going to encourage myself and others when things do not work out and I am going to show others that I care about them even while I am still working on me.’

Patients at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic can call their clinic to schedule an appointment with their primary care provider, and speak with a behavioral health consultant during their visit.