How to feel less stressed during the busy holiday season

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:38 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Planning family gatherings, cooking, shopping, traveling and the list goes on. The holiday season can be a stressful time that elevates feelings of anxiety or depression.

“The holidays bring on a lot of high expectations. Everyone wants to have the perfect holiday,” said the Director of Psychiatry, Christina Arredondo at El Rio.

As the pandemic continues to take its toll, this time of the year often spent with family and friends can be especially challenging.

“If we’ve lost a loved one or have difficult relationships with family members, this time of year can bring up really painful emotions,” said Melissa Keller, a mental health clinician and supervisor at University of Arizona Campus Health Service.

She has seen a rising number of students seeking help for grief and anxiety throughout COVID. Keller has advice for those feeling extra pressure during the holidays.

“Let go of expectations of how you think you should be doing and really cultivate compassion for your experience as it is,” she said.

Keller recommends coping mechanisms such as taking walks, getting adequate sleep and eating healthy. Volunteering and giving back to the community can help people feel uplifted and connected with others.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out. You don’t have to go through any of this alone. I know there can be a lot of loneliness or isolation,” she said.

University of Arizona students can access 24/7 mental health services, here.

Find a full list of free and low cost mental health resources around Pima County, here.

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