Published on 12/22/20

Practice self-care to combat holiday stress

By Keishon Thomas

Whether you are planning to celebrate the holidays face-to-face or virtually, it is understandable if you are feeling mentally drained. As we face the challenges of navigating the holidays safely, there are a variety of ways to focus on mental health.

Here are a few tips to help you relax, relate and release this season:

Move your body: Whether it involves walking, yoga or dancing like no one is watching, physical activity can have a significant impact on your mental health, decrease blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels. Get moving!

Unplug: Information overload is a real thing. Monitor your media intake — in other words, unplug. Recently I have begun to utilize the "Do Not Disturb" function on my mobile phone. It has allowed me to focus on what is important at the moment, recenter and realize the world is still spinning even though I unplugged for a few hours.

Stay present and focused: This is my daughter's senior year in high school. I am keenly aware that time waits on no one. I have found that staying focused and present (even if said senior takes cursory looks at her phone) encourages deeper, more meaningful conversations with her.

Stay social: We have a variety of means to reach out and connect with others. Rethink how you connect. Calling someone or meeting up for a socially distanced walk is a great way to boost your mental well-being.

My family will be having a virtual Christmas brunch. Sure, we will all be in our own homes, but we will be together. And that is what counts.

For more tips on health, dealing with holiday stress and more, visit

Keishon Thomas is the University of Georgia Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Bibb County.

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