Mental Health Tips for the Holidays

Although the holiday season promises good tidings, merriness, and happiness, it turns out that it’s more common than people think to feel otherwise. A survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 64 percent of individuals living with a mental illness reported that their conditions worsened around the holidays. This time of year can be stressful due to financial issues, an increase in sicknesses, and difficulties in relationships with family and friends. It’s important to keep your mental health in check throughout the year, but during this season people often push their feelings to the side. To have the happiest and healthiest holiday season, here are some tips on how to manage your mental health.  


    1. Know that it’s ok to say no. 
      1. People often feel pressured to participate in every holiday activity with family and friends, which can lead to an increase in stress as well as potential burnout. It’s ok to say no to a party with family members that causes you distress and it’s ok to buy a pie from the store instead of baking one from scratch. At the end of the day, do what is best for you and what will allow you to show up as your confident, happy self. 
  1. Manage potential financial stress. 
    1. Set a budget as well as boundaries to avoid overspending on presents. Consider making a homemade gift that might carry a sentimental meaning in comparison to an expensive gift from the store. Remember that it’s the thought and love behind that counts the most, not the price tag. 
  1. Know when to walk away. 
    1. Attending a family gathering and feeling overwhelmed during a conversation? Take a break from the situation and take some time to yourself. It’s ok to walk away from an unpleasant situation to cool down. Don’t feel ashamed of putting your needs first. Your family will still be there when you return. 
  1. Be realistic and try not to overdo it. 
    1. There is often pressure during the holidays to check every activity off your list; ice skating, cookie decorating, visiting Santa, the list goes on and on. Know that it’s ok to not do everything. Find what’s important to you and your family and pick a few from a list. This will prevent burnout and overstress. 
  1. Take care of yourself. 
    1. Get plenty of sleep at night. 
    2. Eat a well-rounded diet and drink plenty of water. 
    3. Avoid alcohol and other substances. If participating, set limits and know your boundaries. 
    4. Practice mindfulness and meditation. It can also help to write down all the reasons you’re grateful during the holidays. 
    5. If you’re grieving the loss of loved ones, reach out for help and talk to those around you for support. 
    6. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and other resources. 
      1. If you or someone you love is experiencing a crisis, you have options: 
        1. Call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 
        2. Use the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor for free, 24/7 crisis support via text message 
        3. Call the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) M–F, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. PT for free mental health info, referrals and support 
        4. Therapy  
        5. Medication and involvement from a psychiatric professional 

The holiday season can be hard, but not impossible. Keep these tips in mind and don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones or a professional for further help. Share this article with those around you and subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss the latest information.