MANAGING HOLIDAY STRESS
1. The holiday season is upon us, but this year many of us will experience
these celebrations in very different ways, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Years of traditions will be honored differently, as how, where, and with
whom we celebrate the hallmarks of the season are altered to reduce the
spread of the virus. While we can still take time for rest, our connection
with loved ones and celebration may be different to allow everyone to stay
safe. These changes may trigger a variety of emotions for some people,
including grief or anger, as they recall the celebrations of holiday seasons
in years past. When stressful situations are prolonged, we may experience
feelings of irritability, anger, sadness, sleep problems, trouble concentrating,
or difficulty making decisions. Additionally, those of us who may live alone,
or far from friends and family, or who have lost a loved one, may find the
holiday season especially difficult.
2. The best way to manage stress, and to find peace and moments of joy this
year is through active self-care.
a. Take care of yourself and maintain your resilience by eating a healthy,
well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting restful sleep.
b. Connect socially by spending time with your loved ones use of electronic
devices can connect us instantaneously.
c. Find support from a partner, family member, friend, counselor, online
group, or chaplain.
d. Practice gratitude by focusing on all that you are thankful for take
a few moments to focus on this activity daily.
e. Think of creative ways we can honor our traditions, and the meaning of
these holidays, differently.
f. Understand that you may experience sadness or a sense of loss, and that
connecting with others can remind us that we are not alone.
3. Reach out to one of the following resources:
- National Volunteer Fire Council Directory of Behavioral Health Professionals,
- National Volunteer Fire Council Share The Load Resources,
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255,
- The National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP (4357),
- Crisis Text Line is available by texting HOME to 741741
- First Responder Assistance Program (FRAP) 1-855-201-8880 or www.workhealthlife.com
- Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP),
- Workplace Wellness & Employee Assistance Programs (bhsonline.com)
- Your Local PEER SUPPORT TEAM,
- Your Chaplain
4. Consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for information regarding
fall and winter holidays, including considerations when hosting, attending a holiday
gathering, holiday travel, reminders about mask wearing, handwashing, limiting contact
with commonly touched surfaces or shared items, keeping safe around shared food and
drink, and identification of lower, moderate, and higher risk activities, for your