The Importance of Mental Health During the Holiday Season


The holiday season comes with back-to-back social events and family get-togethers. Starting in October, only a handful of weeks separate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. These holidays often involve social events that can include alcoholic drinks and last-minute preparations can cause increased anxiety.If you have recently completed treatment, this can be a stressful time. You may be worried about friends or family asking intrusive questions or noticing changes to your behavior. The good news is that you have been preparing yourself for the upcoming holidays by following your treatment and continuing a care plan. Self-help meetings, peer support, and individual therapy teach healthy coping skills.

Holidays and Mental Health Symptoms

The holidays are a joyous time filled with family and traditions, but they can also be incredibly stressful for individuals with substance abuse or mental health disorders. The symptoms can worsen due to a variety of issues, including:

  • Fears about not meeting family expectations
  • Feeling pressured to host an event or complete time-consuming holiday tasks
  • Work stress if co-workers leave for holiday early
  • Increased social events and busier public spaces

Four Ways to Avoid Stress During the Holiday Season

Your sobriety and mental health rely on your ability to identify and utilize resources. Below are four ways to avoid stress during the holidays#1. Say “no” to friends, family, and co-workers. You are under no obligation to provide services or favors to anyone. Your mental and physical health and safety come first. If you have difficulty saying “no," you can practice with your therapist.#2. Practice extra self-care every day. You may experience additional triggers, cravings, and anxiety during the holiday season. Lower the risk of relapse by practicing self-care every day in as many ways as you can, including:

  • Taking time for yourself away from others to meditate
  • Spending time on a hobby or activity that you enjoy
  • Visiting with your close friends and family

#3. Schedule more therapy appointments. It can be helpful to connect more frequently with your therapist leading up to the holidays. Your therapist can help you develop goals, a safety plan, and even scripts for answering questions about your recovery.#4. Use healthy coping techniques and lean on your support system. Communicate any fears, guilt, or anxiety with your close friends, family, and peers. Your sponsor or family members who know details about your recovery may have excellent suggestions that help you feel more safe and comfortable during the holidays.Holidays can sometimes be difficult due to the fast-paced preparations and social pressures. You can take steps to lower stress and turn the upcoming holiday season into a time for creating new and joyous memories with your close friends and family. Your sobriety and mental health matter. Give yourself permission to take care of your mental and physical health this year. The staff at Valiant Living can help you learn how to prioritize self-care and achieve long-term sobriety. Call us today at 720-669-1285.

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