How to manage holiday stress during COVID-19

Holidays of all sorts are upon us and it can be an exciting time for many – but it can also be challenging for many as well, especially during COVID-19.
A hand holding a mug beside a slice of pumpkin pie.While it can be a time for celebration, family, food and fun, it can most certainly also be a time when we feel alone, disconnected or isolated. Especially while the world manages a pandemic. Some of us won’t be able to get together – please follow guidelines from your local health authority. Regardless, this year, the holidays will be different. And this will affect some of us in negative ways.
When it comes to COVID-19, we have compiled information, including facts, prevention tips, and resources to help you and your loved ones stay safe during the pandemic. Dealing with a pandemic is stressful enough but, with the holidays, the added stress can affect our sense of wellbeing and mental health.
Thanksgiving is a time when families gather but, this year, that may not be possible, leaving many on our own. But even when with loved ones, we can still feel alone.
Halloween is supposed to be a time when children dress up and run around to various houses in traditional trick or treating. That will likely not happen this year, so we’ve compiled tips on how to celebrate Halloween during COVID-19.
With the pandemic, the holidays can be lonely and sad occasions for many Canadians.
So what do you do? When you’re feeling stressed, take care of yourself – taking small, positive steps can help you feel better and more in control.

How to take care of yourself:
  • Understand what causes stress and recognize your own feelings.
  • Be patient with yourself and those close to you – it takes time to manage feelings.
  • Learn how to manage your reactions to these experiences.
  • Focus on the things you have control over.

To keep your stress in check, it can also be useful to participate in activities or try relaxation techniques. Here are some examples of activities and techniques that have been proven effective:


  • Hobbies. Discover a new pastime or take part in an activity that you enjoy.
  • Physical activity. It has countless benefits for your health and wellbeing that go beyond better stress management.
  • Yoga, breathing exercises and meditation. All these techniques are highly effective for managing stress.
  • Visualization. Visualization techniques tap into your ability to form positive mental images.
  • Massage therapy. Many types of massages exist, and some have a particular focus on relaxation.
It may help to:
  • Maintain daily routines and do things that normally give you pleasure.
  • Eat healthy foods, get sleep and exercise if possible.
  • Accept support and assistance.
  • Allow yourself to feel sad and grieve
  • Take small steps.
  • Find more on coping with crisis.
  • Download this free psychological first aid guide
Following any emergency or disaster, a person may experience a range of thoughts, feelings and behaviour that can be intense, confusing and frightening. If these reactions to stress persist beyond several weeks and make it impossible to function normally over a long period of time, seek help. One option is to contact your local health facility, or a crisis support line.

If you are in crisis, please call 911 immediately.

Keep learning

Providing emotional and practical support to people who are having difficulty coping can be helpful. Consider taking a psychological first aid course for self-care strategies, and ways to support others who dealing with stressful events.

Learn more at

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