Reducing Holiday Stress and Anxiety

Self-care is always important for good mental and physical health during the holiday season, but even more important during a pandemic. If we want to get through this, we may cope better with a few strategies within our control. Here are 10 suggestions:

  • Reduce your sources of stress. Limit how many news sources you read as well as the frequency of consumption. Ignore information from unofficial or uncontrolled sources.
  • Increase communication with friends or family. This is via not only phone or Zoom calls, but also writing letters, sending holiday packages, or meeting in person, but at a physical distance with masks.
  • Keep a regular schedule for meals and sleep. This may help maintain energy throughout the day, reduce frequent snacking, and help to reduce fatigue.
  • Get outside. Being out in nature reduces your screen time and provides a mental break. Seeing neighbor’s holiday decorations and lights may also cheer you up.
  • Exercise regularly. Go for a walk, bike ride, or hike. Use hand weights or a medicine ball indoors or a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or other equipment if you have it.
  • Volunteer in your community. If you have time, spend some of it helping others. This will lift your spirits in addition to giving back. Opportunities such as food ministries, holiday toy drives or other charity work could use help these days.
  • Take care of your pets and your skin. Psychologists note we may all be suffering from “skin hunger” from the lack of personal touches we are normally used to. Pet your dog or cat often, hug the people in your immediate circle daily. Treat yourself to a long bath or hot shower or use a favorite lotion on your legs and arms. We all need a human touch.
  • Enjoy the silence. Embrace the introvert in you. Meditate daily, read more or journal your thoughts. Write 3 things you are grateful for each day. Life is not always a group activity, and that’s OK.
  • Learn a new hobby. Baking sourdough and banana bread became a hit this year because everyone had more time at home. Use an app to learn a new language or yoga or try your hand at a new craft like collaging.
  • Ask for help. Mental health professionals are poised and ready to use telehealth for those who need professional help with their stress or anxiety.

Remember, we will not be in crisis mode forever. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We just need to be patient and trust that this too, shall pass.

Credit: Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD (

Source: University of Tennessee Extension