Best Tips for Coping with Stress During the Holidays

Couple coping with stress during the holidays 

The holiday season is a time of celebration, but for many people it stirs up feelings of loneliness, fatigue, and depression. The stress and anxiety that bubble up in November and December is often referred to as the “holiday blues,” and it can affect anyone – even those who are usually content. Whether the holidays have taken an emotional toll in the past or you’re experiencing new levels of anxiety and depression, try these tips for coping with stress this season:

  1. Acknowledge any feelings of sadness or grief that come up. You don’t have to force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. Feel free to excuse yourself from an event if you’re uncomfortable.
  2. Prioritize important events. If your weekends are filling up, avoid over-committing yourself by politely declining invitations that don’t serve you. Your friends and family will understand if you can’t attend every gathering.
  3. Avoid comparing this year with past holidays. It’s natural for families to change and grow over time. Being open to creating new traditions will help prevent disappointment and post-holiday letdown.
  4. Refrain from excessive drinking. While alcohol may provide temporary stress relief, drinking will only increase your feelings of depression. Stay hydrated and stick to healthy eating habits to combat stress.
  5. Establish a budget. It feels good to give presents to your loved ones, but overspending comes at a price. Avoid financial strain this season by deciding how much you can comfortably afford and stick to your budget.
  6. Seek out free activities. Shopping and traveling can stretch your budget to the max. Think of free things you can do for fun, like window shopping, watching your favorite holiday movie, or building a “snowman” at the beach.
  7. Practice self-care. Setting aside alone time becomes more important during the holidays. Treat yourself to a restorative yoga class, schedule a massage, or simply turn off your phone and read a good book.
  8. Reach out for support. It’s not uncommon to feel isolated amidst the chaos of the holiday season. If you’re lonely, reconnect with an old friend or volunteer your time to meet new people. Seek professional help if you need it.


Overwhelmed by stress and depression? We can help. 

Between shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and attending family parties, the holidays come with many demands that can take a toll on your emotional health. Despite your best efforts to set realistic expectations and enjoy the present moment, you may find yourself feeling fatigued, anxious, or depressed. If the stress of the holidays becomes overwhelming or if you continue to experience symptoms for more than a few weeks, it may be time to seek help. 

At Alvarado Parkway Institute, we offer a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs for depression treatment in San Diego. Our mission is to break down the stigma associated with mental illness and support all patients on their journeys to stability and recovery. Please call us to discuss your options for stress treatment or depression treatment this holiday season at (619) 667-6125.