Local doctor says to look at this year’s holiday season as opportunity, not burden

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Dr. Momen suggests shifting your mindset, albeit, easier said than done, but it can go a long way

(WKBN) – The holiday season can be joyful and magical, but it can also be stressful under normal circumstances — and this year, the coronavirus has been added to the mix. We talked with a local doctor about how you can lower your stress.

There’s a lot to look forward to this time of year: spending time with family, shopping, giving and getting presents. But for those same reasons, it can bring on a lot of stress and anxiety, and COVID-19 isn’t helping.

“I think it has been 1,000 times more stressful,” said teacher Christina Toth.

“The whole year it’s been a trend but I think as the holidays are approaching we’re gonna see more of that,” said Dr. Maisarah Momen, with the Trumbull Regional Medical Center.

One piece of advice Dr. Momen, a psychiatrist, can give you when it comes to stress this year…

“It’s important to lower your expectations, be realistic this year especially, everything doesn’t have to be perfect this year like it’s been every year,” Dr. Momen said.

Dr. Momen suggests shifting your mindset, albeit, easier said than done, but it can go a long way. Look at this holiday as an opportunity instead of a burden.

“Change your traditions around if you need to, maybe make homemade gifts, learn how to say no to relatives, volunteer your time if you don’t have money,” Dr. Momen said.

And if seeing family and friends is what brings you joy this time of year and you’re short on that, remember that you do have safe options.

“It’s hard but just talk to people every day, reach out — the phone’s always there — text, call, you can even see people from outside. Put on a mask and go for a six feet apart walk. You can still do some things,” Dr. Momen said.

On the flip side, having lower expectations may sound nice. You don’t have to bake those three dozen cookies or make it to five holiday parties in two days. It may even allow you to enjoy things you never did before.

“It did make me appreciate, OK, let’s put up the tree. I ordered a brand new Christmas tree because it was something to look forward to,” Toth said.

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