Overcoming Holiday Stress

Overcoming Holiday Stress

By Ada Cohen, Program Coordinator, Equity Diversity & Inclusion

Be kind to yourself.
With all the unknowns, the times we are living in can feel uncomfortable, and it’s okay to let yourself be uncomfortable. You can’t expect to be a cheerful holiday participant during the entirety of the holidays. You don’t need to overextend yourself to make all those holiday treats, buy all the presents, or attend all the events. With practice, we can notice this self-critique, let go of the negativity, and choose personal goals without guilt or shame.

Express gratitude.
Suggested practice: Each night before you fall asleep, reflect on three good things about your day or your life. Savor each one for a minute or two and let yourself feel deep appreciation. Gratitude increases positive emotions, helps us relish good experiences and deal with adversity with more resilience, improves our health and supports strong relationships.

Be present.
Instead of worrying about presents, try to be in the present moment—whether it’s eating a delicious holiday treat or relaxing on the couch. “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai

Mindfulness and triggers
Learn to recognize your holiday stress triggers and relievers. Financial pressures and personal demands are two common triggers. Even during a “normal” holiday season many people may feel sad, lonely and depressed. This year it may be more difficult and it’s important to be mindful of the additional stress you or loved ones may be facing due to:

  • job loss, homelessness, not enough food, problems with remote work and learning
  • being a parent or caregiver with mental health, substance use or health issues
  • being a frontline worker
  • caring for a child or loved one with special healthcare needs or a mental health condition
  • grieving the loss of a loved one

Click here to view places where you can express your gratitude in action through volunteering and donating this holiday season.

Need help for your mental health and well-being? Check out these self-care and crisis support resources.

About The Author

Valley Medical Center's Marketing and Community Outreach Office