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How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Holidays

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P- December 20, 2022

The holidays are supposed to be meaningful time spent with loved ones near and far. However, this time can be very stressful for many people, and some just want to avoid the holidays altogether.

Why is this? There are several reasons. One reason may be because there are a lot of expectations. Everyone wants to have professional holiday photos taken for their Christmas cards, and gather for elaborate meals, and buy nice gifts for everyone on their lists.

Another reason may be that some people are grieving the loss of loved ones from the past 2 ½ years and haven’t been able to grieve appropriately. Getting together with other people and acting like nothing happened can be traumatic for some.

It doesn’t have to be this complicated. Here are some tips to make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone:

  1. Think about what you want. It is perfectly okay to put yourself first during the holidays. Think about what stresses you out during the holidays, and what you enjoy. Write this down and keep it in mind from year to year. Then you can prioritize what is important and what is not.

  2. Communicate with your loved ones. Make your wants and needs known among your family and friends. If you are on a budget or are only able to visit on a certain day, let them know this. Have respectful responses ready in case they need clarification or become upset.

  3. Establish boundaries. For example, if you aren’t willing to see old friends every night that you are home for the holidays, that is okay. Tell them you are sorry to miss them this time, but you hope to catch them the next time you are both home.

  4. Give yourself grace. If things don’t go according to plan, give yourself grace and know that nothing is perfect. Be truthful with your emotions, both with yourself and with your loved ones. Take a step back if needed, or remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation.

  5. Reflect. After the holidays, reflect on what you enjoyed and what could have gone better. Make notes for the next holiday.

If you need additional support, reaching out to a mental health professional is always an option. There are several therapists at Creative Counseling and Studio taking new clients, and we each look forward to working with you.

For more information, please call (402) 401-4445 or visit

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