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How To Manage The Holidays and Family with Your Mental Health in Mind

The holiday season is fast approaching, and this year promises to be particularly challenging. Between work demands, family obligations, and celebrations to look forward to for the next several weeks—it can feel like the pressure is on to maintain a perfect facade at all times. However, maintaining your composure when everyone else is losing theirs can be more challenging than it seems. If you’re feeling anxious about the holidays, here are some tips on how you can manage your emotions and stay grounded during this period of the year.

Be realistic about expectations and planning

When the date for the holidays approaches, people often start to feel anxious. This anxiety can be an expected response to the expectations that people have for this season and what they see as an increased risk of mistreatment from family members. Unfortunately, these feelings are common and are not necessarily a sign of a mental health issue. However, when these feelings become overwhelming, they can lead to thoughts like: “I am not good enough,” “My family will be disappointed with me,” and “I’m not as happy as I should be.” These feelings are normal and common. However, if you experience them for more than a couple of weeks, it can be a sign that you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of the season and that you should seek help. This can be done in a number of ways, including reaching out to a counselor, family member, or friend.

Spend time with the people who matter most

Regardless of the amount of time you have with loved ones, the holidays will come to an end. Therefore, you need to make the most of your time with those you care about while avoiding potential pitfalls that could strain your relationship. If you have an especially close relative that could be triggering your anxiety, avoid spending too much time with them. Instead, seek out other family members, friends, and community members who could offer you support. Another way to avoid negative interactions during the holidays is to avoid alcohol and other substances that could cause you to be less responsible with your words and actions. While there is never a good time to be in a sober state, the holidays are a particularly bad time to be impaired.

Take care of yourself first

Unfortunately, it is easy to focus on the potential stress you feel from others and ignore your own needs. As the holidays approach, it is important to take care of yourself first. This means that you should prioritize eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and regularly practicing relaxation techniques. These tactics are important for mental health, and they can also help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Furthermore, when you take care of yourself, you will be better equipped to respond to others who are experiencing anxiety and stress.

Celebrate with friends and loved ones who deserve it

No matter what you do, there will be people who are negative and critical during the holidays. Therefore, try to focus on the people in your life who are supportive and loving. These are the people who deserve to be celebrated, and you should set aside time for this. Furthermore, during this time, avoid setting yourself up for failure by avoiding traditions that are tied to negative outcomes. Instead, try to incorporate traditions that are tied to positive outcomes, such as traditions related to gratitude and giving. Gratitude journals can be particularly helpful during the holidays. By writing down things you are grateful for, you can avoid setting yourself up for failure by avoiding the trap of thinking that you are not worth any of the gifts you received.

Remember that being together doesn’t mean you have to be miserable

No matter how much family members might pressure you to feel certain emotions, you should never let other people’s opinions dictate how you feel. Furthermore, you do not have to show how happy you are during the holidays by putting on a fake smile and pretending that everything is fine. If something is wrong, you should address it, but you do not have to let other people’s expectations dictate your behavior. If you are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it can be helpful to reach out to a professional. There are many resources available at your disposal, and they can provide you with guidance, support, and advice on how to navigate your issues.

Don’t let your mood dictate your decisions

It can be tempting to let your mood dictate your decisions while you are experiencing a low mood. For example, you may be tempted to engage in risky behavior that you would otherwise avoid when you are feeling down. However, you should avoid engaging in risky behavior when you are experiencing a low mood, as this could make you feel even worse. Instead, focus on finding positive ways to engage with the world, such as engaging in creative activities, doing volunteer work, or volunteering to mentor others. Furthermore, you should try to avoid engaging in negative self-talk when you are experiencing a low mood. This is particularly important when you are feeling down, as this can make you feel even worse. Instead, try to challenge the thoughts that are perpetuating your mood, such as telling yourself that you are beautiful, talented, and worthwhile.


While the holiday season can be a time of great joy and celebration, it can also be a time of great stress and anxiety for many people. If you are experiencing these feelings, it is important to take care of yourself during this period of the year by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and sleeping well. Furthermore, it is important to avoid engaging in risky behavior while you are feeling down, as this can make you feel even worse. When you are feeling better, it is important to focus on the people who matter most to you during this time of the year. It is also important to remember that being together does not mean that you have to be miserable and avoid letting your mood dictate your decisions.

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