7 Tips Handle Anxiety & Depression During the Holidays & Beyond

Woman in red jacket holding a mug sitting in front of a fireplace and small Christmas tree looking sad.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for some. For others who are dealing with feelings of sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, grief and anxiety, the holidays aren’t so merry and bright.

The truth is, holiday blues are normal and common. Newsweek reports that two in five Americans feel their mental health worsens during the holidays, and that inflation, gift shopping, difficult family dynamics and the pandemic were the top reasons for holiday stress in 2022.

In addition, lack of sleep, indulgent eating and drinking, travel stress and painful memories can impact our physical and mental health during the holiday season.

Whether you have diagnosed clinical depression or anxiety disorder, or you’re simply feeling a bit more stressed out or sad than usual, the following seven tips will help you prioritize your mental health during the holiday season (and beyond!).

Remember you should always check with your doctor or mental health care provider first before self-diagnosing.

Could you be dealing with PTSD? Learn about symptoms and treatment options.

7 Tips to Help:

  1. Lower Your Expectations: Do visions of perfect holiday decorations, gifts, meals and get-togethers have you feeling less than? Do you find yourself seeing other people’s holiday photos on social media and engaging in self-comparison? When we see what we perceive to be the perfect holiday experience and our experience doesn’t match up, we can feel as though we’ve failed. However, it’s important to remember that there’s no right way, or wrong way, to experience the holidays. Real life will never look like a Hallmark Christmas movie, and social media is often a highlight reel of someone’s best moments. To protect your mental health, it might be important for you to take a break from overconsumption of media—especially social media—during the holiday season. You can also take these steps to destress your holiday gatherings.
  2. Set Boundaries: If your calendar is brimming with gatherings and obligations and it’s stressing you out, remember that it’s okay to say “no.” Saying “no” to someone else is actually saying “yes” to yourself and your mental health needs. Only attend gatherings that will leave you in a good headspace and don’t sweat skipping out on events that won’t.
  3. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep affects mood, and the collision of sleep deprivation and holiday stress can leave you feeling more irritable than usual. Ensure you’re practicing good sleep hygiene and giving your body the rest it desperately needs.
  4. Avoid Overindulging & Focus on a Balanced Diet: Food and alcohol both have complex relationships with mental health, and overindulging in either can have a negative impact on your mood and anxiety. It’s okay for many people to enjoy holiday treats in moderation, but be sure to balance them out with nutritious meals and proper hydration. Just make sure you’re not overhydrating…check out our blog How to Know When Drinking Too Much Water is Dangerous.
  5. Exercise and Get Outside: Moving your body—especially outside in the sunshine and fresh air—can work wonders for your mental health. Simply being in sunlight triggers the response the body needs to create vitamin D, which plays an important role in mood regulation. In many areas, the holidays mean cold temperatures and possibly snow and ice, but proper outerwear can help make time spent outside more enjoyable.
  6. Connect With People Who Make You Happy: Do you notice that some people drain your energy, while others revive you? Focus on staying connected with those who you truly enjoy being around, especially during the holiday season when it’s tempting to isolate yourself. Are you finding that your friend group is getting smaller as your age? You may want to read this blog with tips to help.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help: If the holiday season has you in a funk that you can’t seem to snap out of, it might be time to seek help from a licensed therapist or another mental health professional, who can teach you how to cope with stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. They may also recommend medication or lifestyle changes to help you alleviate your symptoms.

Is anxiety stopping you from going to the doctor? Check out these six tips.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance without medical exams, health questions, or rate increases.

Coverage options starting at $9.95 a month!


Colonial Penn is here for you!

Colonial Penn has specialized in making life insurance simple and accessible by offering it directly to consumers since 1957. Click here to learn more.

Related Articles

Get a quick insurance quote now!

Pressed for time? We get it! Select your State to see which of our plans fit your needs and are available to you.