Staying Healthy & Connected During the Holidays

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This year has been hard on everyone, which means a lot more people will be feeling the holiday blues. Since it’s harder to get together with family and friends, let’s try keep in mind those who might be feeling a little extra lonely this time of year and make an effort to reach out.

The good thing about today’s world is that many of us have the technology to stay connected, even if we are miles away from each other.

Here are some tips to stay connected:

If you are feeling sad from the distance during these unprecedented times. Try the following to stay connected with friends and family virtually.

  • Plan a virtual holiday party via Zoom call with family and friends you usually see around the holidays. You can open gifts together, play games, and keep connected while being distant.
  • Make a video card with your child and email to family members or friends for the holidays or just because you’re thinking of them.
  • Call friends and family you know will be spending the holidays alone.
  • Plan virtual activities you can do with family and friends on the days leading up to the holidays. With video chat, you can build gingerbread houses together, make holiday cards, or decorate cookies.
  • Stream a movie virtually with friends and family – watch your favorite holiday movies with your loved ones. Try different online resources that synchronize video playback and add a group chat.

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Set time aside to connect with those who might be feeling lonely:

Over 40 percent of older adults experience loneliness and isolation on a regular basis. Many look forward to companionship during the holidays, that’s why times like these can be especially difficult for them. Make sure you set aside some time to bring comfort in their lives – even if it’s virtual.

  • If you know of any older adults around your neighborhood you could leave a holiday casserole or a plate of food at their doorstep for them to enjoy.
  • Plan a phone date with an older friend or relative. Acknowledge their feelings and make them feel supported by listening. offering advice and resources on ways to pass the time while also distancing.
  • Make them feel included and be patient. Not many older adults are tech savvy. Teach them how to FaceTime or use Zoom so they can join virtual events with the family.
  • Send a card, a letter, an email or a text.
  • Check in regularly – 5 minutes can make a big difference and be something to look forward to.

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Keeping yourself healthy is not only good for you but also your family:

Don’t abandon healthy habits this holiday season – manage stress and keep healthy.

  • Understand that this holiday season is bound to be different and some changes may make it easier for you, and for your family. Now is the time to try new traditions and activities that are fitting with the times.
  • Being connected 24/7 can produce stress. Try turning away from your electronics, and set aside 10 minutes to stretch, meditate or listen to soothing music.

In order to keep your family healthy, you have to stay healthy yourself. Try these tips:

  • Eat healthy snacks
  • Get enough sleep
  • Go on social distance walks around your neighborhood
  • Don’t go overboard on unhealthy snacks and drinks
  • And most importantly – don’t try to please everyone this holiday season. It’s been a hard time for everyone, so just remember it’s okay to not feel 100 percent jolly.
  • Find support. If you are feeling overwhelmed it’s okay to talk to a professional about your mental health. They can help you come up with a plan to cope with those feelings.

 

Learn more:

 

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Finding Balance in the "New Normal"

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed
– how we work, if we work, how our kids attend school, how we shop, where we can go, and what we can do. And it all happened almost instantly. No time to plan and little choice in the matter. We all gave up our old lives and we all gave up control. 

That’s a big-time recipe for STRESS.

And so here we all are, living life in new ways. Perhaps wishing things could be the way they were. Right now, we can’t go back to the way we lived but we can get back to how we felt. We can take back some control of our lives; we can find happiness, connection and relaxation.

And that is not just good for you – it’s good for your family, your friends and your community.


Here are some tips for feeling back in control:

Plan your time

  • Keeping to a regular schedule helps keep days more predictable and calm, especially for children.
  • Take regular breaks during the day. If you're working from home, take advantage of things you might not be able to do in an office, like taking a dance break with your children or walking your dog around the block.
  • Try not to schedule too many Zoom meetings in a day - they often take more energy to process than talking in person or on the phone.
  • Are you a "morning" or "evening" person? As much as possible, plan projects and meetings that require focused thinking during the time of day when you feel most alert.

Relax - let your mind refresh

  • Unplug from social media and email. Even just being able to see your phone has been shown to distract some of your attention. Keep it out of sight when you need to focus or relax.
  • Plan a regular time during the week that's just for fun activities. If you feel too busy, find time that's just for yourself. If you've been feeling isolated, schedule time to connect with others, either at out a safe distance, online or on the phone.
  • Close your eyes and pay attention to your breathing. Take 6 slow deep breaths in and out. Check in with how you feel. Click here for more examples of calming breathing: www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-breathing#breathing-exercises

Share your feelings

  • Stay connected – reach out regularly to friends or family. Even a 5-minute check-in can make a difference.
  • Let people know you appreciate them – at home, when out shopping, when you see someone doing something kind.
  • Still feel like too much? Try calling the new free CalHOPE Warm Line at (833) 317-HOPE (4673) for emotional support. calhope.dhcs.ca.gov

 Learn more – see Coping during Coronavirus >


 

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