By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Challenges are plenty during this time of year as families deal with personal concerns, the coronavirus pandemic, and on top of that, being physically distanced from loved ones.

“The challenge will be finding creative ways to still feel connected to the people you care about and to be able to have that feeling of togetherness and community in these unprecedented times,” said clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Judy Ho.

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Thanksgiving will mark an important time for many families nationwide and could be the first large gathering some will be missing out on due to COVID-19.

It remains of paramount importance to monitor your physical health during this time, but equally important is caring for your mental health as well.

Dr. Ho said a beneficial strategy to taking care of yourself during this time is to remember the basics like sleeping enough, eating well, and getting exercise to help reduce stress levels.

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While gatherings are still not recommended, there are also other ways to connect with loved ones while staying physically distanced.

Many families have opted to use video chat, phone calls, and put on virtual gift exchanges and games online to spend time together.

It’s a big change for some who are used to intimate gatherings this time of year.

“It’s going to be a tough one because we literally just moved out here. Our family is not in the area — the only family that we have. We’ve talked about it, given that we don’t really know what the next day month or couple of months are going to hold

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Dr. Ho also says to try not to get fixated on what you can’t do this holiday season, but rather, focus on what you can do and practice compassion toward yourself and others.