Tips For Managing Your Mental Health During the Holidays


The holiday season is known as a time for holiday gatherings and cheer. Some people look forward to the holiday season, but others may not feel as jolly during this time. Many individuals report an uptick in their levels of stress during the holidays, also referred to as the holiday blues. The “holiday blues” describes feeling extra stressed because of unrealistic expectations around the holiday season.

Common feelings associated with the holiday blues include:

  • Frustration
  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Tension
  • Sense of loss
  • Isolation or loneliness

Easing your stress and looking at the holiday season with a new perspective can help you find joy in this season and make your way to the new year.

Try these tips to make your holiday season more enjoyable.

1. Remember What Really Matters

a. Remember what the holidays mean to you and keep tabs on what really matters to you.

b. Take moments to reflect on the good things that are happening in your life.

2. Learn to Accept Imperfection

a. It is helpful to accept that everything during this time will not be perfect in your eyes, but they can be enjoyable. It’s all right if things don’t go exactly how you planned. – imperfection is normal.

3. Shower Others with Kindness

a. Rather than becoming angry or irritated, work on viewing things through a new lens and responding with kindness even in tough situations. Be courteous to store staff or reach out to loved ones you enjoy spending time with.

4. Think of Your Resolutions

a. Start with smaller more manageable goals for the New Year. Smaller, more manageable goals reduce stress and can be a mental-health booster.

5. Set Aside Time for Self-Care

a. Get enough rest, drink more water, take a daily walk, or stretch. Take medications as prescribed and keep health and therapy appointments.

b. Limit intake of news, social media, substances, or any other consumption that leaves you feeling more drained than empowered.

c. Practicing relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help center yourself during stressful situations.

6. Give yourself a Spending Limit

a. It is helpful to set a budget for yourself during this time of year so that you don’t have to stress over money.

b. Maybe part of caring for your mental health is about what you don’t do this holiday season.

c. Perhaps this is the year to try an alternate tradition that does not involve spending. Write someone a note telling them what they mean to you, for example, and let them know you aren’t exchanging gifts this year.

7. Carefully Watch Your Mood

a. All your feelings this season are valid, including those that are difficult or unexpected. Allow yourself to feel whatever comes. A good goal this season is not to try to feel happy throughout, but to allow your authentic feelings to surface and get support when needed to cope with them.

b. Staying in tune with your feelings can help keep your symptoms of any mental health problems less severe.

8. Ask for Help

a. Caring for your mental health is also about authentically letting people know what they can do to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, even if it means departing from usual traditions or skipping them this year. Enlist those around you to help carry out the traditions you want to keep, such as asking others to help with meal preparation or plans.

b. If you find yourself having difficulty coping, it is likely an indicator that it is time to reach out to a professional (such as a mental health professional) for more support.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Psychology Today

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