Breaking News
More () »

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Mental health expert on coping with seasonal depression and holiday changes amid a pandemic

The CDC is urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

SEATTLE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

With the change to holiday plans, on top of dealing with the pandemic and seasonal depression, mental health experts want you to pay attention to how you’re coping with all of this.

"The reality is, I feel like every month that we progress through this, we're saying to ourselves, how can this possibly get worse? And then every month, something else kind of takes us back and hits us,” said Colleen Hilton, founder of Acuity Counseling

Having to navigate the constant changes over the course of this year can weigh heavy on anyone.

"We really are kind of experiencing this anxiety around not knowing, and then to try to make plans during the holidays with family, who we don't get to see, we have to shift our mindset,” said Hilton.

Hilton said it's all about getting creative this year in order to stay connected.  

"A lot of people are hanging lights early. I know my family has the house already decked out, because that's one of the things that brings joy, so we're focusing on it,” said Hilton.

"The one thing you would tell someone who's experiencing a moment of heaviness? Honestly, the trick right now is to be mindful, to be present. Our innate response is to try to control these crazy circumstances,” said Hilton

She said it's important to maintain healthy habits like keeping a consistent schedule and getting enough sleep, habits that will help in the long run.

"These are going to be things that impact us for years to come and I think we're really only going to know how much once we start to return to normal life. We're in the trenches, so to speak, right now and we're all just taking it day-by-day, as we should,” said Hilton. 

RELATED: Don’t bring COVID-19 to dinner: Washington health officials warn against holiday gatherings

RELATED: Here are which stores are open, closed on Thanksgiving 2020