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  • Writer's pictureShoshana

Mental Health & the Holidays: 7 Steps to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Updated: Jan 14

The last month of 2023 is here, which means the holidays are near! (rhyming wasn't intentional!)

Writing on the road in chalk that says You Got This

Mental Health and Holiday Realities

For many people, mental health and the holidays can be challenging to navigate. This time of year can bring on feelings of anxiety and stress for a variety of reasons. Whether it is navigating difficult family dynamics, feeling overwhelmed by the festive hustle and bustle, or experiencing loneliness around this time of year, the holiday season can present numerous challenges.

A survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) showed that 3 in 5 Americans feel their mental health is negatively impacted by the holidays.

Whatever the reason, the holiday season can be quite stressful. But fear not, because I have a 7-step guide to help you navigate the holidays with more ease while also honoring yourself and your needs.

Step 1: Engage in Self-Reflection

  • Identify Your Triggers:

Take a moment to reflect on past holiday experiences. What aspects triggered stress or overstimulation? Understanding these triggers is the first step to a more peaceful holiday season.

  • Set Intentions:

Define your priorities and intentions for the holidays. What truly matters to you during this season? Focusing on what brings you joy can help guide your decisions.

Step 2: Plan Mindfully

  • Create a Schedule:

Create a holiday schedule that includes breaks and downtime. Resist the urge to overcommit to social events and prioritize activities that align with your personal values.

  • Choose Meaningful Events:

Opt for smaller gatherings or events with close friends and family. Quality over quantity can make the holiday season more enjoyable and less stressful.

Step 3: Establish Boundaries

  • Communicate Boundaries:

Openly communicate your boundaries with friends and family and communicate your needs with them (ex: communicate your need for quiet time).

  • Have an Exit Plan:

Plan an exit strategy for social events. Knowing you have a way to leave when needed can alleviate anxiety and give you more control over your experience.

Step 4: Prioritize Self-Care

  • Schedule Downtime:

Prioritize downtime in your schedule as you manage mental health and the holidays. Whether it's reading a book, taking a walk, or practicing mindfulness, make time for activities that bring you a sense of calm.

  • Create a Comfort/Self-Soothing Space:

Designate a quiet and comfortable space at holiday gatherings where you can retreat if needed. Having a safe space can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Step 5: Manage Stimuli

  • Use Sensory Aids:

Consider bringing sensory aids with you, such as noise-canceling headphones or comforting items, to help manage sensory input during busy holiday events.

  • Practice Deep Breathing:

When you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed, engage in deep breathing exercises to help calm your mind and body. Simple breathing techniques can be powerful tools to help regulate your nervous system.

Step 6: Seek Support

  • Connect with Like-Minded Individuals:

Reach out to friends or family members who understand and support you. Sharing your feelings and experiences with them can be comforting.

  • Consider Professional Support:

If needed, don't hesitate to seek support from a therapist or life coach to navigate and process any challenges related to holiday anxiety and stress.

Step 7: Reflect and Adjust

  • Reflect Regularly:

Take time to reflect on your experiences throughout the holiday season. Identify what worked well and what could be adjusted for future occasions.

  • Adjust Plans As Needed

Be flexible and willing to adjust plans based on what brings you comfort and joy. Your mental health and well-being are the priority, and adjustments are part of the journey.

Moving Forward with Success

As we dive into the holiday season, remember that you deserve to prioritize your mental health. By approaching the holidays with intention, setting boundaries, and engaging in self-care, you can make this season not only enjoyable but a memorable one!

I truly understand how this time of year can be a struggle, which is why I am offering a 20% discount on my holistic coaching services throughout the entire month of December. Feel free to check out my website to request your discount. You can also contact me directly at

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season!

Shoshana Abramson, Holistic Life Coach Work With Me


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About Shoshana: I’m Shoshana, a holistic life coach and the founder of JSAbramson Coaching. Before transitioning to holistic coaching, I worked in the fields of mental health and addiction. With over a decade of experience in mental health, counseling, and holistic life coaching, I have had the privilege of guiding and supporting many people on their path to healing. My educational background includes a B.A. in psychology, a certificate in addiction counseling, and a certificate in NLP coaching (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).  I take pride in staying updated with the latest research in mental health and holistic living, ensuring that the information I share is not only reliable but also backed by credible sources. My aim is to provide you with valuable information, insights, practical tips, and effective strategies dedicated to promoting mental health and overall well-being. Feel free to explore my other blog posts, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.  

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