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Honoring Mental Health Needs Amidst the Holiday Hustle

Updated: Mar 13

The holiday season is almost here. As the days countdown to Christmas and New Year's, many may start feeling an unshakable sadness creeping in. Though this time of year is associated with joy and togetherness for some, for others it brings up grief, loneliness, and anxiety.


The contrast between the sparkling holiday cheer we see portrayed everywhere and one's inner emotional state can be upsetting. Some who struggle with seasonal depression feel their symptoms start as early as the -ber months and don't subside until the new year festivities are over. Others simply feel melancholy without a clear cause. The reasons are complex and layered!


You may not be able to make it home for the holidays, or be far from friends and loved ones during a time focused on togetherness. Feelings of isolation and distance from support networks can take a toll.

You may not be able to make it home for the holidays, or be far from friends and loved ones during a time focused on togetherness. Feelings of isolation and distance from support networks can take a toll. Travel is also expensive, adding financial stress for some during seasons full of lavish celebrations. Speaking of money issues, many people face increased financial strain from holiday shopping and expenses piling up. For those living paycheck to paycheck or with tighter budgets already stretched thin, this causes anxiety and hardship.


Then there are the never-ending holiday parties, gatherings, and family obligations to attend. While usually well-intentioned, these events can come with higher levels of stress around having a clean home, making small talk with distant relatives, and putting on a mask of holiday cheer when you feel the opposite inside. The expectations and social pressures certainly don't help relieve existing depression or grief during a time claimed to be full of joy.


So what can we do to cope if we find ourselves awash in the holiday blues?
  • First and foremost, know that you are not alone. Many people feel sad, anxious and out of step during seasons full of pressure to be merry.

  • Give yourself permission to step back and say no to events that cause undue stress.

  • Set realistic expectations for what you can handle socially and financially.

  • Make time for self-care through healthy habits, relaxing activities or connection with supportive friends who understand if you need a shoulder to lean on.

  • Consider volunteering to help those less fortunate if redirecting your energy lifts your spirits.

  • If grief, traumatic memories or loneliness eat at you, seek counseling or a support group to help strengthen coping strategies.

The key is being gentle with yourself and finding ways to honor your mental health needs, even amid the holiday hustle. Honor what your spirit needs right now to make it through. Try not to get down on yourself for what you can't do right now. Better moments wait ahead if we can be patient with ourselves and take a break from judgments or unrealistic demands of holiday joy. This period shall pass soon enough! And trust that the new year offers renewed chances for hope, purpose and peace.


We at PVP are wishing you happier holidays ahead and emotional resilience in the coming new year!


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