Catholic Charities Offers Guidance for Coping with Holiday Stress in the Time of COVID

GOSHEN – Catholic Charities CEO, Dr. Dean Scher, a clinical psychologist, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), reminds people that experiencing fear and anxiety during this unprecedented time is normal. For many, adding in the holidays and challenges of appropriately interacting with family and loved ones has compounded the stress.

“Coping with pandemic-related fear, isolation, change of routine, and the challenges of celebrating the holidays during these unusual times, has been stressful for everyone,” said Dr. Scher. “Proactively managing the stress is key to keeping us healthy right now. Focusing on self-care is essential,” he added.

Dr. Scher offers some tips for managing both holiday and pandemic stress this year:

  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Get plenty of exercise and sleep. Maintaining a routine is important.
  • Practice meditation, self-reflection, or deep breathing. Take time to relax and unwind your mind and body.
  • Stay connected with people who are important to you. Catch up on phone calls, use video chat, or write a letter. But don’t take on too much. If you can’t get holiday cards out this year – that’s okay.
  • Give yourself a “time-out” – from news, social media, even family members, when necessary.
  • Take a break from screen time as well. Too many video calls can be draining.
  • Spend time outdoors if you can.
  • Avoid turning to substances to self-medicate.
  • Continue to attend support meetings and counseling appointments.
  • Take time for activities you enjoy.
  • Find ways to help where you can.
  • Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is feeling the stress and anxiety right now.

“It’s also important to follow the guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19,” reminded Dr. Scher. “Wear a mask, maintain a responsible distance, wash your hands. If you are struggling to maintain recovery, turn to your counselor, physician, or other support system for assistance. It’s okay to ask for help or support if you need it.”

Catholic Charities continues to provide programs and services to those who are struggling to maintain recovery, manage their stress, and cope with other related issues during this difficult time. Program adjustments have been made to promote responsible social distancing and protect the health and well-being of both employees and clients.

Addiction treatment and recovery services, including medication-assisted treatment, are available at Catholic Charities in Orange and Sullivan Counties. New admissions, counseling sessions, and group therapy are being made available via telephone and tele-health practices, and in person when necessary.

Catholic Charities clinic offices are located at:

– Goshen – 27 Matthews Street – 294-5888

– Middletown – 305 North Street – 343-7675

– Monroe – 101 Carpenter Place – 782-0295

– Monticello – 396 Broadway – 794-8080

– Newburgh – 280 Broadway – 562-8255

– Port Jervis – 17 Sussex Street – 856-6344

– Walden – 8 Scofield Street – 778-5628

For more information about Catholic Charities’ programs and services, visit