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Take Care of Your Mental Health During the Holidays

November 28, 2016

While many people look forward to the holiday season, there are many who dread it—whether it be because of a recent loss, family problems, or feelings of isolation. With the holidays around the corner, here are some tips on how to keep your mental health in check.

1. STRESS: Know your limits.

Whether you’re hosting dinners or attending them, be realistic about what you can handle. If you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed, don’t ignore it. Try prioritizing with a list, letting others share the responsibilities, or simply declining invitations if you feel your mental health deteriorating.

2. ISOLATION: Keep busy.

Being distant or estranged from family and friends can result in loneliness, especially during the holiday season. Keep yourself busy with things you enjoy. Pick up a winter hobby. Join a group—support or otherwise. Volunteer and help others in need during this time of year.

3. GRIEF: Acknowledge your feelings.

If you’ve lost a loved one, the holidays can be especially tough. Acknowledge that it won’t be the same. Realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief, and know that it’s okay to take time to cry or express your feelings; you can’t force yourself to be happy just because of the time of year.


Expenses can easily get out of control during this time of year. To help with your stress levels, set a budget early on and stick to it. Avoid buying gifts with a credit card. Consider hosting a “Secret Santa” this year with friends or family to keep your spending in check.

5. FAMILY CONFLICT: Be realistic.

If you’re concerned about conflict during a family gathering, the trick is to be realistic. Be prepared for some conflict. Accept the reality of who people are, and the reality that they likely won’t change their habits or opinions just because it’s the holidays. Keep conversations neutral, and pick your battles—if possible, save arguments for a later date.