Navigating Holiday Stress During the Pandemic


IOWA – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, doctors are urging people to set boundaries this holiday season.

What’s worrisome is many forms of celebration go against what doctors are advising people to do. However, straying from tradition can lead to some tough conversations with loved ones.

Dr. Craig Sawchuk is a psychologist at Mayo Clinic and has some advice for when it comes to making holiday plans.

  1. Make your decision based on values.
  2. Have this conversation early.
  3. This isn’t a debate.
  4. Be flexible and open to doing thing differently.
  5. Stay optimistic.

When it comes to talking with loved ones, Dr. Sawchuk said it’s all about what you say and how you say it.

“We want to acknowledge that we care about them, and trust me we would love to be able to spend with you,” Dr. Sawchuk explained. “But also in that message, we’re putting in the part about what we’re choosing to do and setting that boundary, based on our values.”

At a time where loneliness and isolation can feel overwhelming, he says there can be a balance between physical and mental wellbeing.

“Both can coexist here and we got to watch out that in order to treat the mental health problem, we can actually do that without contributing to the risk of spread of COVID-19 as well too.

Dr. Sawchuk advises people to seek resources if needed, and reach out to friends and loved ones.


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