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It is the holiday season during the pandemic and I am not feeling the joy. Any suggestions?

Mental Health

A: This is a difficult time for many of us, especially some of us who may be alone and more isolated than in years past. Here we have a few strategies from the experts.

TL; DR: Recognize what you are feeling, connect to friends and family, and make plans for the days ahead of you.

💓 Recognize what you are feeling: Know that it is OK to feel all the feels right now. Evidence tells us that by going towards what you feel rather than away, you can actually decrease feelings of distress (Think journaling, naming what you feel, and allowing yourself time to experience your feelings in the moment like in meditation or worry time).

📱 Connect to friends and family: One more zoom?! We have all found ways to connect, be it through outdoor-masked-distanced-small gatherings or zoom coffee hours, but it can be exhausting. You can still connect with people this way, but may also consider communicating through other types of video calls or even by picking up the good old telephone. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Find time to call someone who may be struggling, schedule time for cooking, walking, or crafting with a friend or family member, or set up a group chat to increase frequency of contact. For more details on how to use technology to do this, see the links below.

BBC guide to technology

AARP Guide to Connecting

📆 Make plans for the days ahead of you: Write them down, schedule them, and even confirm plans the night before. By putting things on the calendar that you have to do (but not scheduling too many things), the days will have more structure. Try to choose activities that bring you some joy but don’t require a lot of effort. This can increase the likelihood of following through with them. Some people volunteer at this time of the year-this offers an added bonus as helping others also improves our own mental health!

Perhaps most importantly, take some time to rest as you are able. We know not everyone has the time or space to take an hour out of the day, but if you can even take 5 minutes of the day for yourself to breathe, move, or do something you love, it can benefit your mental health.

❄️ Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful and calm few days ahead as we move to the end of the year. ❄️

Stay safe. Stay sane. And Stay Well.

With love,
Those Nerdy Girls

Note: If you are in need of urgent help or are feeling extremely isolated, know that you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor.

Nice guides on managing isolation during the pandemic:

Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health

UC Health

Healio

Additional perspective and resources from disaster psychology

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