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Written by Jack Russell
on December 18, 2020

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams has always been one of my favorite holiday songs, but the holiday season isn’t always the most wonderful time for everyone. For many adults and students, this can be a difficult time.

As clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Strohman pointed out in a recent blog post, the holidays can be filled with additional stressors. Sprinkle in the isolation brought on by COVID-19 and you have a recipe for anxiety and depression.

But there are ways that adults and children alike can combat the holiday blues—even with the stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and uncertainty around how to celebrate the festive season.

In Gaggle’s recent Student Wellness Series: Holiday Blues webinar, Dr. Strohman shared these holiday coping strategies:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Set limits
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Don’t isolate yourself
  • Avoid excessive alcohol

Admittedly, the fourth one—don’t isolate yourself—is difficult given the restrictions we face these days related to COVID-19, but there are ways to stay connected and enjoy the holiday season. Building on Dr. Strohman’s list, here are some additional ideas to help adults or students make this a more wonderful time of year:

  • Start a gratitude journal or practice gratitude to help change your perspective
  • Schedule a virtual get-together with family or friends to connect and give yourselves something to look forward to
  • Search online for the best holiday light displays in your area and take a free road trip to observe the lights with your family
  • Go stargazing (even if it’s just in your own backyard!) on December 21 to see what experts are calling the “Christmas Star”—the closest visible conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 800 years
  • Get together with friends or family for a fun virtual activity—playing card games or board games, cooking, conducting a book club, or watching a holiday movie

Whatever you do, remember to stay connected and move around. A phone call, FaceTime, or short walk could make all the difference toward making it the most wonderful time of the year!

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