Even before the pandemic, the holidays were always the most stressful time of year. The
holiday season can place enormous demands on your time, energy, finances, and patience.
There is no lack of things that can stress you out, including finishing everything on time, figuring
out the right gifts to get everyone, shopping, wrapping, shipping, running late, preparing food,
cleaning, entertaining, family issues, annoying relatives, and too much of “eat, drink, and be

Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, there are parties, traditions, customs, and
family rituals to follow, obligations to keep, and social responsibilities to meet. Along with painful
memories of experiences from previous holidays, they all help create an emotional rollercoaster
with anxiety, frustration, anger, and feeling overwhelmed, leading to situational depression.
Unfortunately, everyone else you’ll encounter during the holidays will also be riding the same
emotional rollercoaster.

To make matters worse at this time of year, the seasons are changing from fall to winter. With
decreasing daylight and cooler temperatures, people are even more inclined to stay inside
during the day and become more sedentary. This can lead to increasing feelings of isolation and
loneliness. This can cause a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This can
happen during a time when people are supposed to be happy but feel just the opposite.

Due to the continuing Covid-19 crisis, with its uncertainty and pandemic fatigue, this holiday
season will present even more challenges than usual. Your plans and schedule will certainly
change. If you are going to travel, no matter how you go, it will be much more difficult than in the
past. There will be extra restrictions, limits on social interactions due to serious health concerns.
You will need to wear a mask and keep socially distant, when you’d prefer to kiss your family
members and give hugs to your friends.

Musicians in and around the New York area will face additional stressors during these holidays.
Many of the usual performances, like The Nutcracker, will be cancelled. This will cause
additional financial problems for performers. This comes after many months of lost wages with
no clear end in sight. This could affect your choice of presents for those on your gift list, as well
as the activities you’d like to attend. This may cost you more sleepless nights, which will have
an effect on your vital energy, positive mood, and optimistic state of mind.

Regardless of the many stressors that you will be experiencing for the next several weeks, there
are a number of things that you can do in order to make it as good as possible. Acknowledge
and accept the current situation and how it makes your feel. Whether it’s sadness, grief, or
feeling bewildered, realize that it is appropriate. It’s due to the unprecedented convergence of
the corona virus, depressing news, holiday stress, the financial crisis, loss of the usual holiday
gigs, and negative emotions. Here are suggestions to help you navigate through this holiday’s

  • Plan activities, menus, and collaborations ahead of time.
  • Make a daily schedule for the entire holiday period.
  • Set your priorities from highest to lowest.
  • Be realistic. Limit or cancel non-essential activities.
  • Prepare for unexpected and inevitable changes. Keep flexible.
  • Be reasonable with expectations for yourself and others.
  • Try to stick to your budget and healthy habits.
  • Shop, wrap, and ship your presents and cards early.
  • Consider making your own gifts and cards.
  • Reach out virtually to friends, colleagues, and loved ones.
  • Don’t be afraid to express your honest feelings.
  • See the big picture. Maintain your sense of humor.
  • Take shortcuts. Do things on a smaller or shorter scale.
  • Be willing to say “No” or “After the holidays” to others’ requests.
  • Imagine your response in dealing with difficult situations.
  • Try to get as much sleep as possible. Take 20 minute power naps.
  • Try to take private, quiet time for yourself every day.
  • Take a leisurely walk or exercise. Get some fresh air and sunlight.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Meditate, practice mindfulness or Centering.
  • Be kind, gentle, and loving to yourself and others.
  • Count your blessings every day, even in these challenging times.