‍7 Tips for Caring for Your Mental Health During the Holidays

Published by Annie Barrett: 
December 9, 2022

December is touted as “the most wonderful time of the year”, yet it’s not wonderful for everyone.

Bright lights and happy faces are what we see on the outside, but on the inside, December can be extremely difficult. While depression may occur at any time of the year, stress and anxiety during November and December may cause even those who are usually in good spirits to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 64% of people with mental illness say the holidays make their conditions worse. A 2021 survey showed that 3 in 5 Americans feel their mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays.

7 Tips for Caring for Your Mental Health During the Holidays

Accept Your Feelings
The holidays bring up so many emotions. Try your best to honor your emotions without judging them. It’s OK to feel happy. It’s OK to feel sad. It’s Ok to feel frustrated. It’s OK to feel a mix of emotions all at the same time! 

Maintain Healthy Habits
Holidays can disrupt one’s regular routine in a big way. The more you can stick to your regular healthy habits, the better you will feel and the better you’ll be able to manage your mental health.

Set Boundaries
People like to be generous with resources and time during the holidays. This generosity doesn’t have to come at the expense of your wellbeing. It’s healthy to set boundaries for yourself around spending money and time. It’s OK to limit the time you spend with people with whom you have challenging dynamics.

How to Have Healthy Boundaries

  • Decide on your boundaries in advance.
  • Establish your COVID requirements ahead of time.
  • Don’t feel obligated to travel.
  • Say “yes” only the events you really want to attend.
  • Remember that a clear “no” makes room for a clear “yes.”
  • Set a budget that won’t give you anxiety.
  • Excuse yourself from triggering conversations.
  • Set time limits for parties and events
  • Communicate your needs and expectations to others.

Make Time to Connect
Connection and meaning are crucial for mental health. Make quality time to connect with the special people in your life. Make quality time to connect with yourself too!

Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a valuable mental wellness tool. Certain practices can be particularly helpful if you are traveling or running on an unusual schedule. If you are new to mindfulness practices, there are many available apps with guided meditations and practices.

Get Professional Support
If you already go to therapy, continue to go during the holidays.
If you think you’d benefit from the help of a mental health therapist, counselor, or other professional, be proactive and set up an appointment.

If You or Someone You Love Is in Crisis
Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer Crisis Counselor.