You Matter: Tips for Mental Health Management During the Holidays

The holiday season is often a time of celebration, in which many individuals engage in a bit of indulgence and a series of social activities. But trying to keep up with everything that’s going on while staying positive can be overwhelming for some people.

The holidays are fun but can take a toll on one’s mental well-being. Children and adults, including those with malignant diseases, can feel down during the holidays. For instance, the holiday season for individuals battling mesothelioma at any stage can be stressful.

This article provides tips on managing mental health during the holidays. It also includes the benefits of seeking online therapy sessions and explains whether virtual therapy is as effective as in-person therapy.

Additionally, the write-up gives insights regarding the incidences of holiday blues among children and adults, including those with malignant diseases, such as cancer.

If you or your loved ones are struggling with negative feelings during the holidays, keep reading to learn more about the tips for mental health management during this festive season.

Top 5 Tips to Manage Mental Health During the Holidays

          The holiday season can be a busy time for many individuals. Between family obligations, pre-vacation work checklist, and back-to-back celebrations, it’s easy to get stressed and overwhelm yourself.

         But with these five practical tips, you can manage your mental health during the holidays:

●    Set Boundaries

         Saying “Yes” is a reassuring answer most individuals are happy to give or receive. But “yes” should only be given when the conditions fit within one’s limits.

         You may feel like your relationships have to be uninterrupted. But setting boundaries is crucial for your mental health. If something bothers you, learn to speak up and stand firm in your beliefs.

         If you find buying expensive gifts and hosting an event stressful, it’s okay to say no. Do what you can to make the holidays more enjoyable. But your efforts shouldn’t come at the expense of having healthy boundaries.

●    Take a Breather

You have to decompress and assess what you feel. So make some time for yourself by finding an activity you enjoy. Spending even 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may energize you to do everything you need to accomplish during the holiday season.

You may take a walk at night, listen to relaxing music, and read a book. It is well-documented that reading reduces stress levels by 68%.

●    Keep a Regular Sleep and Exercise Schedule

Individual productivity may fall during the final weeks of the year. So make sure you get enough rest to help your body function optimally.

Good sleep improves your mood, brain performance, and overall health. On top of that, adding exercise to your day to manage your mental health, especially during the busy holiday season, is also crucial.

Exercising and getting enough sleep produces dopamine, a chemical released in the brain that makes you feel good. Aside from giving you pleasure, dopamine also allows you to feel a sense of satisfaction and motivation.

●    Be Realistic

          The holidays don’t need to be perfect. Families, traditions, and rituals change. So choose a few things to hold on to and be bold enough to create new ones.

●    Seek Professional Help

          If you have been depressed or anxious for more than two weeks, make sure to talk with a mental health professional. Seeking help from your doctor is also advisable if the holiday season is long gone and you still feel down. 

The Benefits of Online Therapy Sessions During the Holidays

          Time is precious during the holidays. But a busy schedule and a lack of access to in-person therapy shouldn’t come between you and your mental health.

         With teletherapy and telepsychiatry services, your mental health doesn’t have to take a back seat. You only need a smartphone, tablet, or computer to speak with a therapist. 

          Megan Jones, PsyD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, said that online therapy could be an excellent first step in treating individuals who need more intensive care.       

         When digital interventions provide patients with positive experiences, they may consider seeking face-to-face- therapy.

Is Teletherapy As Effective as In-Person Therapy?

         Research has shown that teletherapy is just as effective as in-person therapy in providing quality care. David Mohr, PhD., of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, also said that retention rates are higher in telehealth. 

         Still, evidence-based telehealth is a work in progress. So further studies are needed to determine whether remote care is enough to treat severe mental health problems. 

Are Holiday Blues Common?

         Holiday blues can affect people of all ages, including children and teenagers. The APA (American Psychological Association) reported that 38% of people feel that their stress levels increase during the holidays.

         Here are the potential causes of mental disturbances in different age groups during the holidays and ways to deal with them:


          Children may feel anxious or sad during the holidays because of the following reasons:

  • Stress around having to be with one parent, a scenario common among divorced families
  • The loss of a loved one who recently passed away

         Elizabeth McCauley, associate director of Seattle Children’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, advises parents to get their children involved in planning holiday activities. This way, kids can have something to look forward to while on break.

McCauley also recommends having open conversations with the kids and establishing expectations that fit in with the family’s budget and interests. 


          Young people aren’t immune from feeling sad during the holiday season. Maybe they’ve experienced a breakup recently or had a falling out with a close friend. These scenarios can lead to loneliness and isolation. Validating their feelings and telling them that things will get better may help.

         SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a type of depression that hits the hardest during the fall and winter months. Parents should encourage teens to step out for some sunshine for at least 20 minutes each day.

Older Adults

Taking proactive approaches like walking outside for fresh air can help older adults beat the holiday blues. But the holiday blues lingering on for too long could signify depression. 

Late-life depression often occurs in the context of medical illness. Studies have shown that depression is associated with cardiac and neurological conditions and infections or malignancies, like mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer. 

If you or your loved ones need professional help, let us match you with a SohoMD provider so you can get started with treatment today.


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