Don't let your season go from festive to frantic: Tips to reduce holiday anxiety
While the festive season can present a hectic series of demands that affect our mood and energy, we can expect an additional layer of stress this year in the form of the ever-present threat of Covid-19.
“We all need a holiday after the challenging year, perhaps more than we’ve ever needed one before”, says Fundiswa Mbuqe, Public Relations Manager at Momentum Multiply. “However, this pandemic is far from over, and we need to remain vigilant at all times, keeping the various safety protocols in mind.”
This constant state of alertness may contribute to an increase in anxiety. According to the Psychiatric Times, Covid-19’s impact on the collective mental health of citizens can be considered a pandemic all on its own, as people struggle to deal with the emotional toll the virus has claimed as collateral damage.
However, the good news is that there are healthy behaviours you can adopt, which will help you avoid undue stress so you can make the most of the summer season. Mbuqe shares a few handy tips for dealing with holiday anxiety to make it easy for you to enjoy those special moments with your loved ones while maintaining peace of mind.
Plan for the unexpected
No one expects to land up in an emergency during the holidays – yet it’s an all-too-common occurrence. With the increased rate of infections in some parts of the country, Mbuqe suggests that holiday-goers equip themselves with a first aid kit so that they can take care of minor health conditions, which may not necessarily require a doctor.
“This minimises the pressure on an already-strained healthcare sector, particularly in areas that are considered hot spots”, says Mbuqe. “Think of all that can go wrong, and plan accordingly. Ensure that any travel or accommodation arrangements you make have a flexibility clause in case you need to postpone or cancel your booking, should one of your family members not be in a position to go on holiday.”
“If you’ve prepared for every eventuality, you’ll find yourself in a better position to relax and enjoy your holiday.”
Get on the same pandemic page
Since the pandemic is still very much with us, this shouldn’t deter you from getting away from the daily grind and reconnecting with those you love most.
“But, even if your spouse and kids are on the same page when it comes to the pandemic, holidays with friends and extended family may present extra risks,” says Mbuqe.
Lockdown or working from home has forced us to establish new routines that we’ve become accustomed to, which generally involve coming into contact with a familiar, small group of people. It is advisable to plan for events that will involve individuals who are not part of your primary household or ‘bubble’. Whoever you surround yourself with needs to be on the same page when it comes to precautions, and this involves having an honest conversation with them.
“Not only will this help you protect your health and safety during a potentially riskier social season, but you can also ensure that cordial relationships are maintained, reducing your stress levels.”
Recognise when you are stressed
Yes, you may love children, but there is no denying that they can increase stress levels. Never forget the reason you’re on holiday in the first place…to relax. “Remember that your family and loved ones are there for the same reason, so don’t let stress get in the way,” says Mbuqe.
When stress is at its peak, stop and regroup. “Acknowledge how you’re feeling, identify the source of your anxiety, and make your holiday companions aware so that they can step in to help. Perhaps it’s relaxing on your own with a book, or taking a walk while your family goes on an outing without you.”
Minimise financial stress by seeking deals
When planning your holiday, consider discounts that will save you money, so that you don’t add financial stress to your woes. Mbuqe suggests that before South Africans book their holidays, they make a list of the places they will be visiting, and identify any bargains in that area.
Momentum Multiply is running several travel and accommodation deals together with its partners. For example, members get up to 50% off when booking a Mango flight, resulting in significant savings.
“Planning your travel itinerary and seeking out the best deals allows you to optimise your budget, helping you prevent money-related stress, says Mbuqe.
She concludes, “If there is anything 2020 has shown us, it is the importance of spending time on that which brings your life greater meaning. The holidays are an opportunity for us to recharge and spend time with our loved ones – so don’t let stress and anxiety prevent you from making lasting memories.”