Los Angeles County appears to be amid another full-blown coronavirus surge, with cases rising by 75% over the last week, and with the holidays around the corner, many may be feeling stressed. 

This surge is causing family plans to change as the days get shorter. The timeless family traditions of the holiday season might have to pause until next year. Nonetheless, the holidays in any given year can be overwhelming anyway.

Other outside stressors may be bearing down, too — such as children at home, stressful job circumstances, and a never-ending pandemic. It’s normal to feel increased stress and anxiety. 

According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. The reasons were given: lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings. 

Self-care is important. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, it can be challenging to get out of that mindset. It’s essential to slow down and acknowledge why you may be feeling the way you are. Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve your physical and mental health. 

McLean (a Harvard Medical School affiliate) developed the Guide to Managing Mental Health Around the Holidays (https://tinyurl.com/5b73bumd), a helpful tool on the best ways to manage if your days aren’t all merry and bright. 

These last few years have been tough on all of us. We have had to figure out new ways of living. Don’t stress yourself over things you can’t control. Do your best to the best of your ability, and give yourself credit for making it through.

If you or a loved one is experiencing or affected by a mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis, call or text ‘988’ (or chat online on 988lifeline.org for free, confidential, and immediate help. The LACDMH Help Line serves as the primary entry point for mental health services with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

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