You can still have a meaningful holiday with a few tweaks, says MakatiMed
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the spirited carol goes. And though we’re all dealing with a bit of anxiety from the health crisis, and some things are just not going to be the same due to certain restrictions, you can still celebrate the holidays in the new and healthy normal way! Don’t let the stress of all that year-end planning make your Christmas any less meaningful.
Top hospital in the Philippines Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed), through its Section of Psychiatry, has five suggestions to get you through the season of giving—and beyond.
Be more understanding. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Most importantly, don’t take things personally. Christmas comes once a year so make it the special occasion that it is, even if it means a change of usual Christmas plans,” says Carmina Bernardo, MD of MakatiMed’s Section of Psychiatry. “It’s more important now to be understanding of each other. Don’t let the pandemic affect your Christmas festivities and create conflicts, have a back-up plan that’s agreeable to everyone.”
Find alternative ways to celebrate. Just because a much-awaited family event or gathering with friends might not happen the same way this year doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Christmas together. You can always find alternative ways to keep each other company over the holidays.
“Don’t forget to break the news early enough to family members, particularly to the kids, that a reunion or any other long-standing tradition may not be likely to happen this year,” says Dr. Bernardo. “Keep their spirits up by proposing new traditions such as celebrating with the rest of the family over Zoom or sending over their fave Christmas dishes. You can make it more special and fun by creating activities that you can virtually do together, like decorating cookies, opening of presents, and singing of Christmas carols.”
Add new giftees to your list. Make this a particularly memorable Christmas by sharing your blessings with those who aren’t normally in your gift list. “You can prepare a meal for hardworking frontliners or send in relief to those affected by the typhoons,” says Dr. Bernardo. “The act of giving doesn’t only benefit your recipient; it also decreases your anxiety and depression, and lowers blood pressure and stress levels too.”
When shopping for presents, consider doing it virtually. Online shopping spares you from having to deal with the stress of staying outdoors for a long time. “Remember to stick to a budget, as pandemic stress can make you take it out on shopping. Make sure that your holiday expenses won’t be a source of financial burden,” reminds Dr. Bernardo. “If cash is tight, it’s wiser to give practical gifts that the recipient can really use.”
Reach out. Looking after your mental wellness is also an important aspect of staying healthy, especially in these times. Do what calms you down or lifts you up. It could be talking to a friend, writing a journal, singing, going for a walk, reading, or working out. Even a 15-minute nap can do wonders for your body and mind.
And if need be, don’t judge yourself or discount the possibility of seeking professional help. “When sadness or anxiety becomes too overwhelming or starts to affect your daily routine, talk to your family physician about recommending a mental health professional,” says Dr. Bernardo. “Christmas is a happy time, but it also tends to make you feel wistful and melancholy. Remember that your feelings are valid, and more importantly, that you don’t have to go through this alone.”
Stay healthy. The holiday season is the best time to make good on that resolution about maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, and exercising regularly. “The Christmas season can be draining, so it’s important to look after yourself too. Maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep, and sticking to your ideal weight not only strengthens your immune system, but also leads to a healthy life,” Dr. Bernardo explains. “And being healthy is the best Christmas present you can give yourself.”
For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632 8888 8999, email [email protected], or visit www.makatimed.net.ph.
This is a press release distributed by Buensalido Public Relations