Mental Health and the Holidays: Tips to Keep You Healthy


What comes to mind for you during the holidays?

You may think about time with family and friends. Maybe you think of decorations, presents, or even holiday music.

For some people, the thought of the holidays can introduce feelings of stress – about work, family, finances, and about how to balance it all. Feelings of anxiety or depression can also develop during the holidays, and that’s why it’s important to be aware when they come on.

The Holiday Blues

Temporary feelings of anxiety or depression can occur during the holidays due to factors like added stress, unrealistic expectations, or memories that you associate with the holidays. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says about 64% of people feel these so-called Holiday Blues, while nearly one in four people surveyed said the holidays had a significant impact on them.

Around the holidays, you may feel:

  • Fatigue
  • Tension
  • Frustration
  • Loneliness or isolation
  • Sadness
  • A sense of loss

In many cases, the feelings may be temporary and only associated with the holidays, but should be addressed, as they can sometimes lead to long-term mental health conditions.

One of the simplest ways to take care of yourself around the holidays is to be patient, and to take things week by week, or even day by day. Some other tips to remember:

  • Rest: Make sure you get enough sleep each night.
  • Simplify: Make a to-do list, and don’t overextend yourself. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible.
  • Be reasonable: Set expectations and goals you can meet when it comes to shopping, cooking, or even buying gifts and cards. When it comes to gifts and holiday activities, set a budget, and don’t go past what you are comfortable spending.
  • Take some time: Be sure you don’t isolate yourself. Instead, spend some quality time with supportive and caring people in your life.
  • Stay active: Even a short walk can help with your mental and physical health.
  • Moderation: Be mindful of what you eat and drink. If you’re feeling down, avoid alcohol.
  • Relax: Do what you enjoy, and what helps you unwind, such as listening to music.

Resources are available if you begin to experience feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression around the holidays. CDPHP members can call 1-888-320-9584 — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — to speak with someone who can provide you with assistance, and get you the help you need.

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