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Therapist says boundaries, connection important if you decide to stay home Thanksgiving

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This is the first Thanksgiving we're being urged to stay home to not spread a potentially deadly virus.

Those governmental recommendations may be contributing to stress in many families as they navigate how to celebrate Thanksgiving.

"This is a trying time," said Oceanic Counseling Group's Clinical Director Kenza Haddock.

RELATED: DHEC issues COVID-19 travel and safety precautions for a healthy Thanksgiving

The CDC found mental-health-related emergency room visits rose 24% for children aged 5-11 and 31% for those aged 12-17 between April and October when compared to 2019.

"In addition to typical stressors that we're facing during the holiday season, people are experiencing depression that stems from isolation," Haddock added.

RELATED: Are students concerned about traveling home for the holidays?

Haddock said keeping family safety in mind is key during the pandemic, so staying home is the best option for some. However, that still comes with its emotional challenges.

"There's also a sense of grief and loss of not spending time with family," she said.

RELATED: Traveling for Thanksgiving? Here are the states with quarantine rules

Another concern for many families is how to break the news to loved ones that you won't be gathering this year. Haddock said clarity is key.

"Don't feel you have to explain or over-explain yourself," she said. "This is where respect and boundaries come into play. Be clear about what you want."

Haddock added for those who may be spending their holiday alone this year, the connection is very important.

"Channel your energy into something productive and volunteer," she said. "Thankfully, we have the virtual world where we can FaceTime and Zoom. A connection is very important to combat that sense of isolation."

Haddock said alcoholism also rises during the holidays because it's more socially acceptable this time of year.

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She said if someone is battling alcoholism, get an accountability partner, or find other support groups.

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