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Dreaming of a stress-free holiday

Alicia Colombo

We have officially entered the holiday season. For many, the holidays include observing cultural and religious traditions, shopping, and cooking. Along with all of the hustle and bustle, stress doesn’t have to be on your “To-Do List.” The major life lesson that 2020 has taught us is that health, safety and happiness is what’s truly important – not things. Keep that in mind, and pause (often) to enjoy the season.

The holidays will look different amid the pandemic, and that’s OK. There are many easy ways for you to still enjoy the holdiays, while reducing your stress level.

City and health officials recommend at-home and virtual holiday celebrations to prevent the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19. These celebrations can still be festive, joyful and fun. In addition to socially distant celebrations with friends and family, faith-based practices can also be practiced remotely. Many houses of worship are offering religious services online or by phone.

Dr. Lise Deguire, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Bucks County, recommends the following activities to help you feel more calm, happy and at peace this holiday season.

With the holidays usually comes extra eating and drinking, in the form of sweets and high-calorie savory goodies. Don’t stress about indulging in the occasional treat. Just make sure you stay active to avoid unintended weight gain. With COVID-19 still prevalent, it’s best to stay away from the gym. You can still exercise around your home: walk the distance of your home several times, get up and dance to music on the radio or TV, or lift hand weights. In addition to keeping your body healthy, exercise also releases endorphins, which reduce pain and boost pleasure. It’s  a natural stress reliever!

Do you write? Paint? Quilt? Creativity is one of the best coping tools we have. By creating, we can take our feelings and transform them into something beautiful, moving or cathartic. An added bonus: you can use your creative skills to make presents or greeting cards. Perhaps, you can find creative ways to decorate for the holidays by showcasing your own homemade art or displaying existing holiday decorations in a new way.

This year, many people will be missing their loved ones around the holidays, because most of us will need to stay in our own homes. Reach out! Don’t just text, pick up the phone. Even if you don’t have much to talk about, call your friends and family. Consider extended family members, neighbors and members of your faith community whom you don’t speak with often. This is a perfect opportunity to get in touch. It is always cheerful to hear a familiar voice.

Happy Holidays from PCA!

Alicia M. Colombo is editor of Milestones newspaper.

PHOTO CREDIT: C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Categories: Milestones eNews


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