Tips to Prevent Holiday Depression and Stress

Tips to Prevent Holiday Depression and Stress

Adapted from our friends at the Highline School District and the Mayo Clinic

While the holidays can be a time for celebration, they can also be a time when we feel alone, disconnected or isolated. With COVID-19 spreading throughout our community you may be feeling additional stress or worry about the health of yourself and others. You may also feel stressed, sad, depressed, or anxious about your holiday plans. But with some practical tips from, you can minimize the feelings that can accompany the holidays.

Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently passed away or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. Take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't and don’t need to force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.

Reach out if you feel lonely or isolated. Seek out online support groups, virtual events, or connect with a family member or friend through text, phone or video call. They can offer support and companionship. 

Stick to a budget. Before you begin gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Give homemade gifts or perhaps opt for a year with no gifts.

Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping in store or online, baking, connecting virtually with friends and other activities.

Learn to say no. Saying yes when you want or need to say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand.

Continue healthy habits. Below are ways to continue healthy habits during the holidays.

  • Pay attention to what your body needs and eat things that make you feel good.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Include regular physical activity.
  • Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.
  • Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.

Be aware of how the information culture can produce undue stress. Adjust the time you spend reading news and social media.

Take time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spend 15 minutes alone, without distractions. Find something that you enjoy that reduces stress.

Seek professional help. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or mental health professional.

If you or your child are struggling for any reason, school counselors, social services support staff, and family advocates are available to help. Contact your child’s school office to get connected with these support staff.